The United States reported more than 56 300 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the third day in a row infections have risen by at least 55 000, according to a Reuters tally.

With California, Florida and Texas recently breaking records, hopes are fading for an economic rival and US stocks closed down about 1% as investors worry another lockdown will cripple businesses.

Even outside the nation’s three most populous states, cases are rising. Alabama, Montana and Wisconsin recorded their biggest one-day rise in cases ever on Thursday.

Infections are increasing in 41 out of 50 states, according to a Reuters analysis of cases for the past two weeks compared with the prior two weeks.

On Wednesday, the United States recorded its biggest increase in cases ever, rising 60 541 in a single day.

The United States has reported more than 3.1 million cases total and over 133 000 deaths from the virus, making some Americans hesitant to return to public spaces and patronise businesses despite President Donald Trump’s efforts to downplay the risks.