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The United States has recorded its most coronavirus-related deaths over a weeklong period, as a brutal surge gathers speed across the country.

NYTimes:  With a seven-day average of 2,249 deaths, the country broke the previous mark of 2,232 set on April 17 in the early weeks of the pandemic.

Seven-day averages can provide a more accurate picture of the virus’s progression than daily death counts, which can fluctuate and disguise the broader trend line.

The United States is approaching 300,000 total deaths, with nearly 283,000 recorded.

The nation is averaging nearly 200,000 cases per day, an increase of 15 percent from the average two weeks earlier, and has recorded over than 15 million total cases.

Much has changed since the previous peak in April.

The coronavirus is no longer concentrated in big urban areas like New York City and now envelops much of the country, including rural areas that had avoided it for several months.

Many of the hardest-hit counties on a per person basis are now in the Midwest.

North Dakota, where one in every 10 residents has contracted the virus, has the highest total reported cases by population, followed closely by South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska.

The latest wave to hit the United States has hospitalized record numbers.

Each day since Dec. 2, more than 100,000 Covid-19 patients were in hospitals.

That far surpasses the number of people hospitalized during the peaks spring and summer, which at their worst had nearly 60,000 Americans in the hospital daily.

The new peak also comes as the nation prepares for holiday celebrations, and as colder temperatures may push people to congregate indoors.

Infectious-disease experts have warned that trends in the United States, which reported a record 2,885 deaths on Wednesday, could continue to worsen over the next several weeks.

Against the warnings of public health officials, millions of Americans traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday, stoking fears that another wave of travel could accompany this month’s celebrations even as the pandemic rages.

And even without traveling far, gatherings between people from different households pose a risk.

“These are going to be perfect scenarios for replication of the virus,” said Dr. Fadi Al Akhrass, an infectious-disease specialist at Pikeville Medical Center in Kentucky.

Dr. Al Akhrass said people seemed more willing to accept the severity of the virus than they were in April, but that “everybody learned the hard way.”

“The value of Christmas is what we give, not what we take — this is something we need to consider this season,” he said. “Giving up on large gatherings will probably be the best gift of them all.”


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