THE US has suffered its deadliest week since the Covid outbreak began with deaths, cases and hospitalizations all hitting record highs in the wake of the Thanksgiving getaway.
Deaths across the country rose by 44 per cent compared to the previous week.
New records were set in all of the three main metrics which measure the severity of the pandemic, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
In the past week deaths rose to 15,966, new cases to 1.4million while hospitalizations grew to 107,248 – an all-time high.
Weekly cases grew by 27 per cent while hospitalizations were up by 8.8 per cent.
More than 3,000 Americans died from Covid-19 in a 24-hour period, for the second day in a row.
That’s more people than were killed on either D-Day or 9/11.
The previous peak for deaths was on April 15 when 2,603 deaths were recorded with New York City at the centre of the nation’s outbreak.
Worryingly, the Covid Tracking Project warns that if the pattern continues the worst is yet to come with the rise in deaths hitting even larger record-breaking figures.
Since the coronavirus hit the US there has been more than 15.6million cases and 292,141 deaths.
While new cases in the Midwest have started to decline cases in the Northeast, South and West have started to see steep rises.
Both California and Georgia suffered the worst growth in hospitalizations in the past week.
California recorded nearly 144,00 new cases this week, more than double the figure of the second highest state, Texas, which had 71,800 new cases.
New Hampshire saw a rise of 49 per cent, Delaware’s hospitalizations rose by 26 per cent and Maine saw a 25 per cent rise.
The seven-day average for daily new cases is now 205,425 and it has climbed to 2,332 for daily deaths.
Once again the Covid Tracking Project warned that the situation could worsen in the coming days.
There can be a time lag factor for deaths from Covid-19 following a spike in cases.
Figures from the Centers for Disease Control show the highest number of death per capita in North and South Dakota, Rhode Island and Iowa over the past seven days.
All those states recorded more than two deaths per 100,000 of population.
Rhode Island now has the highest per capita seven-day average in new daily cases at 1,150 cases per million people.
It is followed by North Dakota with 1,050 new daily cases per million people and Ohio with 1,039.
Rhode Island is suffering from a rise in cases among the Latino population, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
More than 1 in 8 Latino people have tested positive for Covid-19, compared to 1 in 31 white people in the state over the past week.
Native Americans appear to be also disproportionately affected in South Dakota with 1 in 7 testing positive for the virus.
The rising figures are putting intense pressure on public health officials and hospitals are struggling to cope.
Figures from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) show hospital beds are now filling up more faster than expected.
According to the figures, one in three intensive care units (ICUs) were more than 90 per cent full last week.
At least 200 hospitals had no more beds available in any unit.
In the first week of December 28 per cent of inpatient beds and 46 per cent of ICU beds were occupied by coronavirus patients, according to CNN.
The Center for Disease Control has also warned the true number of Covid-19 cases in the US could be much higher than the official figures, saying that only one in seven infections is believed to have been reported.
The CDC estimates there was a possible 52 million Covid-19 infections in the US between February and September – with about 45million of those cases being symptomatic.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel though after a US government advisory panel endorsed the use of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine.
Once the FDA has signed off the recommendation the roll out of the vaccine could begin within days, kick-starting the largest vaccination program in US history.
“This is a light at the end of the long tunnel of this pandemic,” said Dr Sally Goza, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Government advisers endorsed the vaccine developed between Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in a 17-4 vote with one abstention, saying it appeared to be safe for emergency use in people aged 16 and over.
Pfizer has claimed it will have around 25million doses of the two-shot vaccine ready for use in the US by the end of December.
The vaccine will initially be given to health care workers and nursing home residents, with other vulnerable groups next in line.
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