The United States marked another grim milestone on Wednesday with over 2800 coronavirus deaths in a single day, the highest since the pandemic began early this year.
On Tuesday, about 2600 people died of coronavirus in the United States, a number close to a record set in Mid-April when more than 2600 Americans were killed by the respiratory illness in a single day.
About 13.9 million people have contracted coronavirus in the United States and more than 273,000 of them have already died.
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Right now, more than 100,000 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19 across the country, the highest number of hospitalizations since the outbreak began early this year.
There are nearly 20,000 patients in intensive care units and about 7000 of them on ventilator, according to the new data collected by The COVID Tracking Project.
The data show that the number of hospitalizations has been dramatically increasing since the end of October, with about 60,000 hospitalizations since then.
The grim milestones in deaths and hospitalizations come as health officials continue to warn that the weeks and months ahead may be the deadliest, especially with new surges tied to holiday travel and lockdown fatigue.
Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday that 180,000 more people could die of in the United States before the month of February.
“The reality is December and January and February are going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation,” the CDC director said in a Q&A with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Redfield said Americans could help change the course of the pandemic and reduce the spread of the coronavirus by following public health measures, including wearing of face masks, social distancing, staying at home and gathering only in small groups outdoors rather than indoors.
Pfizer has already applied for an emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not scheduled to meet until December 10 to discuss a possible authorization. A week later, the FDA will meet again to discuss the Moderna vaccine.
Both vaccines are not expected to be widely available to the general public until February or April next year, meaning that social distancing, wearing of masks, testing, isolating and treating patients remain our best weapons against the respiratory disease.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, and others have been warning against COVID fatigue, saying now was not the time to let up with help on the horizon.