United States records highest coronavirus deaths to date



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The United States recorded more COVID-19-related deaths in a single day than ever before – nearly 3,900 – on the same day the mob attack on Capitol Hill revealed some of the same deep political divisions that hampered the battle against the pandemic.

The virus is increasing in several states, with California particularly affected, reporting a record two-day total of 1,042 coronavirus deaths on Thursday. The growing number of cases threaten to force hospitals to ration care and decide primarily who lives and who dies.

“People are out of breath. People seem to drown when they’re lying right in front of us, ”said Dr. Jeffrey Chien, an emergency room doctor at Santa Clara Valley Regional Medical Center, urging people to do their part to help slow the spread. “I beg everyone to help us because we are not on the front line. We are the last line.

Meanwhile, the number of Americans who received their first injection of the COVID-19 vaccine jumped to at least 5.9 million on Thursday, a one-day gain of around 600,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hundreds of millions of people will need to be vaccinated to stop the coronavirus.

About 1.9 million people worldwide have died from the virus, more than 360,000 in the United States alone. December was by far the nation’s deadliest month yet, and health experts warn January could be even more terrible due to family reunions and travel during the holidays.

A new, more contagious variant is spreading around the world and into the United States, and it remains to be seen what effect the thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump who converged this week in Washington, many without a mask, will have. on the spread. of the plague.

Trump has long played down the virus and despised masks, and many of his staunch supporters have followed his lead. He also raged against lockdowns and urged protesters to oppose restrictions in states such as Michigan, where armed supporters stormed state house last spring.

On Wednesday, the day a horde of protesters violated the U.S. Capitol, disrupting efforts to certify Joe Biden’s election, the United States recorded 3,865 virus deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Figures can fluctuate widely after holidays and weekends, and figure is subject to revision.

“National terrorists have invaded the Capitol Police, just as the virus has been allowed to invade Americans,” said Dr Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. “The United States has lost control of a crowd instigated by Trump and a pandemic virus played down by Trump.”

Some of the forces contributing to the eruption of violence were partially anticipated by experts in global disease planning when they hosted a tabletop exercise in 2019, said Dr Eric Toner, principal investigator at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security who led the exercise.

“We looked at the possibility of active disinformation and the use of a pandemic for political gain,” Toner said. “Real life has turned out a lot worse.”

In California, health officials on Thursday reported 583 new deaths, a day after 459 people died. The global death toll stands at over 28,000 people. The state has also recorded more than a quarter of a million new cases per week, and only Arizona leads California in terms of cases per capita. Florida broke its record for the highest number of single-day cases with more than 19,800, while its death toll reached 22,400.

Los Angeles County, the most populous in the country with 10 million people, and nearly two dozen other counties have essentially run out of beds in intensive care units for COVID-19 patients.

“This is a health crisis of epic proportions,” said Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County director of public health.

Guidelines posted on the Southern California Methodist Hospital website warn: “If a patient becomes extremely ill and very unlikely to survive their illness (even with life-saving treatment), then some resources … may be available. allocated to another patient who is more likely to survive. “

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Associated Press editors Olga Rodriguez in San Francisco and Tamara Lush in Tampa, Florida contributed to this report.

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