The weekly tallies of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the United States have never been higher, and state officials are warning of more alarming patterns following the holiday season.
The total number of Americans infected with the virus surpassed 22 million Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University data, and more than 372,000 have died.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the state was seeing a “real and significant increase in cases and our positivity rate from people’s gatherings around the holiday.”
“This surge that we’re in right now is at least twice the rate, the seriousness, of the previous surges that we have seen,” the governor said Friday. “This is our most dangerous time.”
Colorado’s state epidemiologist, Dr. Rachel Herlihy, on Friday warned of “early signs” of a rise in Covid-19 cases. “We are starting to see the impact of the holidays show up in our data,” she said. Health experts believe about one in 105 residents are currently contagious, Herlihy added.
Health officials are also concerned Wednesday’s storming of the US Capitol may have consequences for the pandemic.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Friday that the riot would likely be a “surge event” that will have “public health consequences.”
“You had largely unmasked individuals in a non-distanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol,” Dr. Robert Redfield told the McClatchy newspaper group. “Then these individuals all are going in cars and trains and planes going home all across the country right now.”
“So I do think this is an event that will probably lead to a significant spreading,” he added.
In the nine days since the start of 2021, the US has recorded more than 2 million new Covid-19 cases and more than 26,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The nation has averaged about 247,200 Covid-19 cases a day over the last week as of Friday — an all-time high, and more than 3.7 times greater than a summertime peak set in late July, Johns Hopkins data shows.
And the country has averaged 2,982 deaths a day over the last week — the highest figure of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins. This week also saw the first time the US reported more than 4,000 coronavirus deaths in a single day, on Thursday.
Hospitalizations, meanwhile, have been pushing some facilities and medical staffs to their limits. Some 130,777 Covid-19 patients were in US hospitals on Saturday– the fifth-highest figure recorded, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
News source: CNN