Photo/Illutration People wearing protective masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walk along a pedestrian crossing on July 27 in Tokyo's Ginza district. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Tokyo logged a record 2,848 new novel coronavirus cases on July 27, topping the previous high of 2,520 recorded on Jan. 7, as the more contagious Delta variant is driving the latest surge, metropolitan health officials said.

New cases topped 2,000 in the capital for the first time since Jan. 15, when 2,044 were registered.

It was the eighth consecutive day that daily new cases in Tokyo topped 1,000. A total of 1,461 more new cases were reported on the day than the same day a week ago.

The rolling seven-day average for new infections through July 27 was 1,762.6, an increase of 49.4 percent from the figure for the preceding week.

In July, it has become clear that a fifth wave of COVID-19 cases has hit the capital.

Tokyo reported 1,149 new cases on July 14, the first time for the daily count to go above 1,000 in about two months.

Almost every day since has seen more than 1,000 new cases reported.

On July 22, the number hit 1,979, the fifth most to date.

On July 26, after the four consecutive holidays arranged for the Tokyo Games, new cases totaled 1,429, the most for any Monday.

The seven-day positivity rate was 14.5 percent on July 25, tying the record set on Jan. 7 in the middle of the third wave of infections.

Preliminary figures released by the metropolitan government showed that the Delta variant accounted for 30.5 percent of the total of new cases reported over the week through July 11.

As Tokyo has been placed under a fourth state of emergency, crowds in its entertainment districts are thinning somewhat, metropolitan officials said.

But the pace of infections is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks. Shigeru Omi, chief of the government’s expert panel on response to the coronavirus, has warned that the number of daily new cases could hit nearly 3,000 during the first week of August.

Health experts fear that hospitals in Tokyo will likely be overwhelmed by patients with COVID-19 in the coming days.

The number of serious cases requiring ventilators and other special breathing apparatus stood at 82 as of July 27, compared with 37 a month ago.

The number of patients hospitalized due to the virus in Tokyo totaled 2,717 as of July 26, 1,290 more than a month ago.

Of the 2,848 new infections announced on July 27, 951 patients were in their 20s, 610 in their 30s, 466 in their 40s and 301 in their 50s. There were 275 teenagers, 97 children under age 10 and 78 patients age 65 or older.