The seven-day average of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continued its parabolic climb to 344,543 on Thursday, up from 301,477 on Wednesday, up about four-fold since Dec. 1 and 37% above the January 2021 daily peak of 251,232, according to a New York Times tracker. Hospitalizations also kept climbing, but at a slower pace, as the daily average reached 81,847 on Thursday, up from 79,084 on Wednesday, up 45.5% since Dec. 1 and the most since late-September. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that the daily average of children hospitalized with COVID-19 jumped 66% in a week to a record 378. The daily average death toll inched up to 1,221 from 1,207 on Wednesday, and was up from 969 on Dec. 1. The number of fully vaccinated Americans inched up to 205.81 million, or 62% of the population, and 33.4% of Americans have received booster shots, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Globally, the tally for COVID-19 cases climbed to 286.6 million as of Friday morning and the death toll climbed to more than 5.43 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world with a total COVID-19 case count of 54.25 million and death toll of 824,339.