Patrick Gower says the coronavirus being "everywhere" in the United States was a "really scary" realisation for him when he arrived there earlier this week.
Gower, Newshub's national correspondent, was in New York City on Wednesday ahead of next week's presidential election.
The country is capping off a week where new daily COVID-19 cases have shattered records and virus-related deaths are on the rise again.
More than 83,000 cases were recorded in the US on Friday, marking a new record high in the number of daily new infections. It's seen total case numbers surpass 8.7 million and there have been over 226,000 deaths.
Gower told The Project he started "getting really scared" as soon as he landed in the US.
"You can definitely feel it everywhere, you're always thinking about it," he said.
There are just over 2.9 million current active cases in the US.
"I can't believe I used to freak out about COVID in New Zealand during the first and second lockdowns. I actually cannot believe that I was worried about it, then when you come here and it's just everywhere."
Comparatively, New Zealand has recorded a total of 1943 confirmed and positive cases and 25 deaths. There are also just 66 active cases.
Gower said he's been talking to people in New York City about the virus and he's found it's "everywhere".
"You talk to people - they've had it. I've talked to quite a few people, just small talk, they've had COVID. It's everywhere," he said.
"You know that people can't socially distance, you know how contagious the virus is and you see the way it's being handled here. It's more than in the air, it feels like it's in your membranes."
Watch Patrick Gower on The Project above.