Covid hospitalizations reach 100,000 for the first time in the United States

The number of Covid-19 patients in US hospitals topped 100,000 for the first time, as a senior public health official warned that medical facilities across the country will experience unprecedented stress this winter.

Data from the Covid Tracking Project on Wednesday showed hospitalizations have more than doubled since the end of October to a record 100,266. New cases jumped from a record 195,695, while 2,733 deaths were reported, the second-largest single-day increase in the pandemic.

Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Americans are experiencing a winter like no other because of high infection rates across the country.

“The reality is that December, January and February are going to be the most difficult time in the history of public health in this country, in large part because of the stress it is going to put on our health system,” said Dr Redfield.

Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the United States have all increased in recent weeks, with more than one million people diagnosed almost every week in November. While the United States is expected to approve a vaccine in the coming weeks, it won’t be universally available until next summer.

California, Texas and Florida – the three most populous US states – have each recorded more than a million cases since the start of the pandemic.

Dr Redfield said hospitals were already overwhelmed with high rates of infection across much of the country. With virtually all regions affected, there were fewer places with available health care resources and personnel who could be transferred to hot spots, he said.

Officials expect a further rise in cases in the coming days as so many ignored official advice not to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Travel volume was high over Thanksgiving,” Cindy Friedman, head of the travel health branch at CDC said Wednesday. “Even if only a small percentage of these people carried the disease and passed it on to other people, it can translate into hundreds of thousands of more infections.”

The CDC is urging people not to travel for Christmas. Those who do should take a Covid-19 test between one and three days before travel, and again between three and five days after, the agency recommended. People should avoid non-essential activities for the week after the trip, he added.

Meanwhile, the CDC has relaxed its guidelines on how long people should stay in quarantine if they come in contact with an infected person.

Instead of staying at home for 14 days, anyone exposed to the disease can now leave quarantine after 10 days if they have no symptoms, or seven days if their test for the virus is negative.

A CDC official said, “If you reduce the burden a bit, accepting that it costs little to cost, we could achieve better overall compliance with people doing seven full days. If we get full overall compliance, it will lead to fewer infections. ”

Authorities have calculated the risk of one person infecting another person even after completing a 10-day quarantine period at 1 percent, and the risk of doing so after seven days at 5 percent.

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