11 Jan 2022

US sets Covid-19 hospitalisation record as Omicron surges

7:45 am on 11 January 2022

Covid-19 hospitalisations in the United States reached a fresh high of 132,646, according to a Reuters tally on Monday, surpassing the record of 132,051 set in January last year, amid a surge of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

NEW YORK, USA - DECEMBER 28: A woman is getting a Covid-19 test at a Covid-19 testing center next to the Queens Hospital Center as hundreds of residents line up to get Covid-19 test in Queens of New York, United States on December 28, 2021 as Omicron rises around the country.

A Covid-19 testing site in New York in December 2021. Photo: AFP

Hospitalisations have increased steadily since late December, doubling in the last three weeks, as Omicron quickly overtook Delta as the dominant version of the virus in the United States.

Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC, and Wisconsin have reported record levels of hospitalized Covid-19 patients recently, according to the Reuters analysis.

While potentially less severe, health officials have warned that the sheer number of infections caused by the Omicron variant could strain the hospitals' systems, some of which have already suspended elective procedures as they struggle to handle the surge of patients amid staff shortages.

The seven-day average for new cases has doubled in the last 10 days to 704,000. The US has averaged over half a million cases for the last six consecutive days, according to a Reuters tally.

Only seven states have not set records for Covid-19 cases in 2022 - Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio and Wyoming, according to a Reuters tally.

Washington DC, is leading the country in new infections in the past week based on population, followed by Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Vermont.

Deaths are averaging 1700 per day, up from about 1400 in recent days but within levels seen earlier this Northern Hemisphere winter.

- Reuters

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