The United States has crossed an ominous new threshold of 3,000 lives lost to COVID-19 in a single day as hospitalizations continued to surge to record highs.
At least 3,124 Americans died yesterday, which is the highest number of deaths in a single day throughout the pandemic.
The record one-day death toll reported yesterday exceeds the number of lives lost from the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 when 2,996 people died.
The previous single-day record was last Thursday when 2,879 deaths were recorded.
The number of COVID patients hospitalized across the country continues to surge to all-time highs with 106,688 currently being treated, which is up 18 percent over the previous two weeks.
There were 221,267 new infections recorded yesterday.
Deaths from COVID-19 in the US have soared to more than 2,200 a day on average, matching the peak reached at the height of the pandemic last April, in the aftermath of Thanksgiving.
Cases per day are now eclipsing 200,000 on average for the first time on record.
The virus has now killed more than 288,000 Americans and some 15.3 million have been infected since January.
The grim tolls comes on the same day a panel of FDA advisers will meet to weigh whether to recommend the agency authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The CDC’s latest forecast is now predicting another 72,000 deaths within the next four weeks.
The forecast is predicting the death toll will increase to between 332,000 and 362,000 by January 2.
In that week alone, there could be between 12,600 to 23,400 new deaths. The health agency creates its forecast using predictions from 36 modeling groups across the country.
Four of the daily COVID-19 death tolls reported in the last week rank among 10 of the deadliest days in US history, according to a list that is going viral on social media. The top of the list was the Galveston Hurricane in Texas on September 8, 1900 that left 8,000 people dead.
The surges in deaths, hospitalizations and cases has prompted pleas for Americans to scale back Christmas plans even with vaccines on the cusp of winning regulatory approval.
‘No Christmas parties. There is not a safe Christmas party in this country right now,’ Dr Michael Osterholm, a member of President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board, told CNN.
‘It won’t end after that but that is the period right now where we could have a surge upon a surge upon a surge.’
Currently, the three worst affected states for deaths per capita are in the Midwest with South Dakota recording an average of 2.6 fatalities per 100,000 people in the last seven days, CDC data shows.
Iowa follows with 2.2 deaths per capita and then North Dakota 2.1 deaths.
In terms of infections per capita, Midwestern states were the hardest hit during the fall. Rhode Island, however, is now currently the worst affected state across the country with an average of 124 cases per 100,000 people in the last week.
North Dakota follows with 113 cases per 100,000, Indiana with 103 cases and then South Dakota with 99 cases.
The Northeast and West are currently experiencing a rapid increase in cases, according to COVID Tracking Project data. The seven-day rolling average for cases per million people is up to 628 in the Northeast and 644 in the West, both higher than any point before this in the pandemic.
The increasing spread of the virus in the first days of December has strained healthcare systems in some pandemic hot spots to the breaking point.
Ten mostly rural counties scattered across California reported having no intensive care unit beds available on Wednesday, according to state health data analyzed by Reuters.
The state had reported a new single-day record of 30,851 cases, as well as 196 new fatalities.
In the agricultural heartland of the California’s Central Valley, COVID-19 admissions have overwhelmed some individual hospitals altogether. In Fresno County, home to 1 million people, only seven ICU beds remained unfilled on Wednesday.
Governor Gavin Newsom is now bringing in hundreds of hospital staff from outside the state and preparing to re-start emergency hospitals that were created but barely used when the coronavirus surged last spring to cope with the new surge.
Medical experts have said the crisis will only worsen amid colder weather, especially if Americans continue to disregard warnings to avoid unnecessary travel and large gatherings over the holidays.
It comes as the latest CDC estimates show there was a possible 52 million COVID-19 infections in the US between February and September – with about 45 million of those cases being symptomatic.
The estimates, which are created using statistical models, show that only one in seven cases have been counted.
As of today, there have been 14.93 million positive tests reported nationwide.
It means the total infection toll across the could be as high as 105 million.