There were just over 59,000 Covid-19 patients in hospitals across the US on Monday, the country’s highest number ever of inpatients being treated for the disease, with new infections at record levels for the sixth consecutive day.
The harsh statistics tallied by Reuters cemented the US’s position as the nation worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic, even as drugmaker Pfizer Inc provided some hope with successful late-stage tests of its vaccine.
President-elect Joe Biden hailed Pfizer’s progress, but urged Americans to wear masks as he noted a vaccine may not be widely available for many months.
The number of Americans with Covid-19 currently hospitalised has surged around 73% over the past 30 days to at least 59,008 — a record level that surpasses the previous high of 58,370 on July 22. Daily new infections, meanwhile, exceeded 100,000 for the sixth consecutive day.
Hospitalisations are a key metric of how the pandemic is progressing because, unlike case counts, they are not influenced by the number of tests performed.
Texas reported the highest number of hospitalised patients with 6,103, followed by Illinois with 4,409 and California with 3,668 patients, according to the Reuters tally.
Biden, who spent much of his election campaign criticising President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic, pledged over the weekend to make tackling the pandemic a top priority.
Mask wearing has become a political issue in the US, with Trump mocking Biden for wearing a mask during the campaign and many conservatives contending masks infringe on their individual freedom.