The United States has hit another grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic as daily deaths surpassed 4,000 for the first time.
A record-high 4,085 Americans died due to to COVID-19 on Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, as new infections around the nation continue on a post-holiday spike.
This figure marks the third day in a row that the U.S. has reported a record-high number of deaths. It breaks the previous records of 3,865 set on Wednesday and 3,775 set on Tuesday.
The first week of 2021 has had the highest number of new cases of COVID-19 than any other week during the pandemic, even as the slowdown of data from the Christmas and New Year period is still likely affecting accurate reporting.
On Thursday alone, a total of 274,703 infections were reported, which is the highest number of cases ever recoded in a single day.
While a rise in hospitalizations across the South is causing concern and Arizona was on Wednesday declared by health experts as the new global hot spot of the pandemic, California remains the country’s worst hit state.
The state reported a record two-day total of more than 1,000 deaths and Los Angeles County alone is now reporting a death due to COVID-19 every ten minutes on average, and a new infection every six seconds, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
Skyrocketing caseloads there are threatening to force hospitals to ration care and essentially decide who lives and who dies while morgues have been forced to store bodies in refrigerated trucks.
‘Folks are gasping for breath. Folks look like they’re drowning when they are in bed right in front of us,’ Dr.Jeffrey Chien, an emergency room physician at Santa Clara Valley Regional Medical Center, told the Associated Press.
He urged people to do their part to help slow the spread adding: ‘I’m begging everyone to help us out because we aren’t the front line. We’re the last line.’
Florida is also seeing record-breaking numbers of cases as public officials grow concerned over the spread of the mutant, more contagious versions of the virus. The Sunshine State now accounts for almost half of all the cases of the mutant strain confirmed across the country.
Nationwide, there have been more than 21.5 million Americans infected with COVID-19 and 365,346 deaths.
The U.S. hit a grim milestone and surpassed 4,000 deaths in a single day for the first time since the pandemic began
While a rise in hospitalizations across the south is causing concern and Arizona was on Wednesday declared by health experts as the new global hot spot of the pandemic, California remains the country’s worst hit state. Pictured, a COVID-19 unit in St. Joseph Hospital in California as the state’s hospitals try to prepare for the possibility that they may have to ration care
The U.S. on Thursday broke four new pandemic records, including the record for daily deaths which reached over 4,000
On Thursday, the U.S. broke five new pandemic records, including the record for daily infections and deaths.
The nation also beat its previous highs for the seven-day average in daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths. The seven-day average for deaths is now at 2,782 American fatalities daily.
Hospitalizations nationwide remain above 132,000 – more than the country’s spring and summer surges combined – as 13 states in the South set new records for COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past seven days.
In addition, the seven-day average for new daily cases rose to 229,650 as California, Florida, and Texas alone reported 80,000 cases, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
Florida, in particular, has been warned of a further surge as almost half of the country’s cases of the mutant, more contagious strain of COVID-19 has been confirmed there. There are now 22 cases of the mutant strain in the state, according to the Miami Herald.
CaliforCalifornia hospitals were this week ordered to postpone non-urgent surgeries and to accept Covid-19 patients from elsewhere in the hard-hit state if they have space as deaths and hospitalizations increase
The first week of 2021 had highest number of new cases of COVID-19 than any other week during the pandemic
The variant, which is thought to have originated in England and is known as B.1.1.7, was first confirmed in Florida just a week ago in a man in his 20s who had no recent history of travel.
‘I think the top concern is that the new variant B.1.1.7 will fuel even larger surges in cases across the [U.S.],’ Mary Petrone, a researcher at the Yale School of Public Health, told the Herald.
Florida has already seen record-breaking new case numbers for weeks with 19,816 new cases on Thursday and a single-day record reported on Wednesday.
The Tracking Project states that Alabama, Arizona, and Nevada are among the smaller states also experiencing severe problems with very high hospitalization rates per capita.
As of Thursday, the three states had over 600 people per million of population currently hospitalized with the virus.
California falls just below with 578 coronavirus patients currently hospitalized per million of population and a troubling spike in deaths.
In the last 24 hours alone, the Golden State recorded 583 fatalities bringing its seven-day average for daily deaths to 380. It also brought a record two-day total of 1,042.
Refrigerated trucks are now being sent across California to store the corpses as morgues and funeral homes become overwhelmed. The number was increased this week from 60 to 88, with most being sent to the south of the state where cases are at their worst.
Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous with 10 million residents, and nearly two dozen other counties have essentially run out of intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 patients.
The National Guard has also been called in to Los Angeles County to assist with the temporary storage of bodies at the county medical examiner-coroner’s office, according to KTLA, as other morgues have run out of space.
Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Community Hospital in Los Angeles where the outbreak has reached new heights
Pictured, a patient is transported to Los Angeles County USC Medical Center. A record 8,000 county residents are currently hospitalized with Covid. Around one in 12 have already been infected, and one in five of those tested recently are positive
The U.S. has reported at least 64 cases of the new mutant strain called B.1.1.7 in eight states, with California and Florida recording the most cases
‘This is a health crisis of epic proportions,’ said Barbara Ferrer, public health director for Los Angeles County.
Hospitals have begun to ration care.
Guidelines posted on the website for Methodist Hospital of Southern California warned: ‘If a patient becomes extremely ill and very unlikely to survive their illness (even with life-saving treatment), then certain resources…may be allocated to another patient who is more likely to survive.’
The infection numbers affecting Los Angeles since November have been staggering, even after 10 long months of pandemic in the nation’s second largest city.
A record 8,000 county residents are currently hospitalized with Covid. Around one in 12 have already been infected, and one in five of those tested recently are positive. More than 11,000 have died.
California was initially praised for its handling of the pandemic in the spring, but skyrocketing cases have sent most of the state back under ‘stay-at-home’ orders.
Ambulance workers have been told to stop transporting some patients with extremely low survival chances.
California hospitals were this week ordered to postpone non-urgent surgeries and to accept Covid-19 patients from elsewhere in the hard-hit state if they have space.
Still reeling from a spike caused by Thanksgiving gatherings that spread infections, state public health chiefs expect the Christmas coronavirus ‘surge upon a surge’ to peak in the next two weeks.
What remains to be seen is what effect the thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump who converged this week in Washington, many of them without masks, will have on the spread of the scourge.
On Wednesday, which had the second-highest number of deaths ever recored, a mob attack on the U.S. Capitol laid bare some of the same, deep political divisions that have hampered the battle against the pandemic.
Trump has long downplayed the virus and scorned masks, and many of his ardent supporters have followed his example.
He has also raged against lockdowns and egged on protesters objecting to restrictions in states such as Michigan, where armed supporters invaded the statehouse last spring.
‘The domestic terrorists overran the Capitol police, just as the virus has been allowed to overrun Americans,’ Dr Eric Topol, head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, told the AP.
‘The U.S. lost control of a Trump-incited mob and a Trump-played-down pandemic virus.’
Some of the forces contributing to the eruption of violence were partially foreseen by experts in global disease planning when they held a tabletop exercise in 2019, said Dr Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security who directed the drill.
‘We did consider the possibility of active disinformation and using a pandemic for political gain,’ Toner said. ‘Real life turned out to be much worse.’