The United States has witnessed more COVID-19 deaths in December than in any other month since the outbreak of the pandemic, according to a latest report of The COVID Tracking Project.
"December is already the deadliest month since the beginning of the pandemic in the United States," said a weekly report of the tracking project.
The report came as the country continues to see surges in cases, deaths and hospitalizations nationwide.
Total COVID-19 deaths in December stood at 63,526 as of Saturday, with a seven-day average of 2,219 daily deaths, according to the tracking project. Currently, there are more than 117,300 people hospitalized with COVID-19.
Christmas and New Year's holiday reporting gaps and backlogs may obscure the realities of the country's outbreaks, and public health experts have warned of another wave of cases, deaths and hospitalizations if the general public do not strictly follow social distancing and other control measures.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged the public to avoid travel and stay at home during the Christmas holiday, to curb the further spread of the virus.
"Travel may increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. CDC continues to recommend postponing travel and staying home, as this is the best way to protect yourself and others this year," the CDC said in its latest advisory.
The safest way to celebrate winter holidays is staying at home with the people who live with you, it added.
"Host a virtual holiday meal with friends and family, gather for a virtual gift exchange, decorate your home, or make festive crafts," said the CDC.
The United States has recorded nearly 19.1 million cases with over 332,800 related deaths as of Sunday afternoon, according to the real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.