The US has just passed a shocking new Covid-19 milestone of 4000 Americans dying each day.
The deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic in the US came at the same time rioters stormed the Capitol in Washington D.C. to protest the election loss of outgoing President Donald Trump.
In fact, on Thursday the number of people dying from coronavirus surged past 4000, following a record day of 3915 deaths on Wednesday, the Washington Post reported.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there were 4279 new deaths recorded between 5pm Wednesday and 5pm Thursday.
As US disease specialists had forecast late last year, the virus is spreading with speed and ferocity in 2021.
More than 265,000 new virus cases were reported, the second-highest count in a day according to the Post.
As supplies of oxygen run low in virus hot spots like Los Angeles, the US health system is becoming overwhelmed with a record 132,000 people currently being treated in hospital for Covid-19.
Craig Spencer, director in global health in emergency medicine at New York's Columbia University Medical Centre said the attack on the Capitol had distracted news coverage away from the record death count.
"We're a year into this and we set a record death toll yesterday, and it's going to be higher sometime in the next week and higher again in the coming weeks," he said.
"People have just gotten used to the fact that thousands of people will die."
As America waits for president-elect Joe Biden to be inaugurated in less than a fortnight, the death toll is expected to continue its surge.
Leading US infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci said rising virus numbers reflected travel and social congregation during the Christmas-New Year holiday season.
He said numbers would continue to rise but it was still possible to "blunt that acceleration" through strict public health measures such as social distancing and mask-wearing.
"But that's going to really require people concentrating very, very intensively on doing the kinds of public health measures that we talk about all the time," he said.
"Now's not the time to pull back on this."