More people are hospitalised with Covid-19 in the US than ever before, as cases continue to rise steeply amid the countdown to a Thanksgiving holiday many fear will have disastrous effect, given mass travel and indoor family gatherings.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the US recorded 142,732 new cases on Sunday, down from the record high of Friday, when more than 196,000 cases were recorded. But 83,870 people were hospitalised, a record, while 921 people died. The total death toll is now 256,589.
On Friday, 1,448 people died – the equivalent of one death every minute.
In Washington, Donald Trump has faced criticism for a lack of action. The lame duck president played golf on Sunday. On Monday he had no events on his public schedule.
In Wilmington, Delaware, where Joe Biden continues to plan for the transition of power, the president-elect was due to hold a virtual meeting with the US Conference of Mayors. Biden spoke to governors last week.
Despite news of impending vaccines, states across the US are feeling the strain. In just one example, Minnesota, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s front page headline on Monday was: “No beds anywhere: hospitals strained to limit by virus.” The paper reported 7,219 new cases and 41 deaths and said demand for testing was surging.
Resources are also strained in states which saw early peaks and are now experiencing a resurgence. In New York, where schools are closed again, the Wall Street Journal reported that hundreds of bodies from the spring surge were still in refrigerated morgues on the Brooklyn waterfront.
Citing the city’s medical examiner, the Journal said many of the bodies “are of people whose families can’t be located or can’t afford a proper burial”. Mayor Bill de Blasio ruled out mass burials after controversy early in the pandemic.
In Nevada, Democratic governor Steve Sisolak, having tested positive himself earlier this month, announced new restrictions on casinos, restaurants and bars and other public venues, while imposing a broader mask mandate.
“Whether you believe in the science of Covid or not,” he said, “the reality is this – Covid is filling up our hospital beds, and that threatens all Nevadans.”
Read more of Martin Pengelly’s report here: More Americans hospitalised with Covid than ever before ahead of Thanksgiving