California, the new epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, has reported its highest daily increase in the number of deaths due to the virus.

On Friday, the state reported 159 COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, marking back-to-back record days, according to a media report.

On Thursday, there were 157 new COVID-19 deaths, a single-day high for the nation’s most populous state.

As of Saturday morning, the total number of coronavirus cases in California was 440,181, while the death toll stood at 8,337.

Over the past week, the state has averaged 9,467 new cases and 102 new deaths per day, according to The Los Angeles Times.

California has also increased coronavirus testing and over the last week, an average of 124,540 tests have been conducted each day.

Meanwhile, state Governor Gavin Newsom did not mention the new deaths neither at his daily online news conference, nor in his tweet.

During his daily briefing, Newsom spent much of his time outlining new protection regulation for essential workers including cooks, construction workers, nurses, cashiers, truck drivers, farm workers and many others.

US deaths rose by at least 1,019 to a total of 145,352 on Friday compared with a rise of 1,140 on Thursday, 1,135 on Wednesday and 1,141 on Tuesday. Total cases across the United States rose by at least 68,800 on Friday to over 4 million total.

Among the 20 countries with the largest outbreaks, the United States ranks seventh highest globally for deaths per capita, according to a Reuters analysis.

Meanwhile, the total number of global coronavirus cases has topped 15.6 million, while the deaths have increased to over 638,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.