US Reports Worst Day Ever For COVID-19 Deaths

The United States reported its highest daily number of COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday with more than 4,320 fatalities attributed to the virus.

It marked the second time — both this month and since the pandemic’s start — that the US reported more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths in a single day.

Over the past week, the US has averaged more than 3,300 deaths every day, a jump of more than 217% from mid-November.

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The numbers are grim, but to some experts they’re not surprising. They follow COVID-19 case surges — fueled by holiday gatherings — across the country and weeks of record-high hospitalization numbers.

Now more than 131,300 Americans are hospitalized with the virus, according to the COVID-19 Tracking Project — and in some parts of the country, hospitals have reached their breaking point.

Arizona reported a record-high 5,082 hospitalized COVID-19 patients Tuesday and on the same day broke a second record: more than 1,180 patients with the virus in ICU beds. In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards extended an order which keeps COVID-19 mitigation measures in place for nearly another month, saying the state was seeing a “huge spike” in cases and hospitalizations.

Those numbers are also on the rise in college towns as students return for the first semester of 2021.

Full-time enrollment at higher education institutes accounts for more than a quarter of the population in 30 US counties, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Infections increased in 26 of the counties over a week, by an average of 50%. In Williamsburg, Virginia — home to William & Mary — cases nearly tripled over seven days. Cases more than doubled in Whitman County, Washington, home of Washington State University and Albany County, Wyoming, home of University of Wyoming.

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And at least 90% of staffed ICU beds are occupied in 10 of the counties, including Mississippi State University’s Oktibbeha County, where nearly all ICU beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients.

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