US suffers deadliest week of Covid pandemic as cases soar past 22 million

THE US has suffered its deadliest week since the start of the Covid pandemic as cases rise above 22 million.

On Saturday, the number of Americans infected with the disease surpassed 22 million with more than 372,000 dead, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Over the past week, the country has recorded 21,752 deaths, 3,500 of these happened on Saturday, according to the COVID-19 tracking Project.

Current hospitalizations are at 130,777, with the seven-day average in hospitalizations climbing to a record 130,350.

The seven-day average for deaths also broke a new record reaching 3,091.

And these figures will increase in the coming weeks due to people gathering over the holiday season, according to US government officials.

In an interview with NPR's morning edition, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the next couple weeks "will likely will be a reflection of the holiday season travel and the congregate settings that usually take place socially during that period of time. … So we believe things will get worse as we get into January."

This was reiterated by Dr. Rachel Herlihy, Colorado's state epidemiologist, who said: "We are starting to see the impact of the holidays show up in our data.

"Health experts believe about one in 105 residents are currently contagious."

The state of Kentucky has seen a "real and significant" rise in cases directly linked to the holiday season, according to its governor, Andy Beshear.

He said: "This surge that we're in right now is at least twice the rate, the seriousness, of the previous surges that we have seen.

"This is our most dangerous time."

But California in particular has seen a severe rise in cases and is said to be in a "dire state."

The state is currently averaging more than 410 deaths and nearly 40,000 new cases a day, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

They also claim that "one in 105 people in CA have tested positive for COVID-19 in 2021."

On Saturday, more than 4,930 patients were in the ICU which is an all-time high, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The state is bringing in refrigerated trucks to store bodies as morgues and hospitals struggle.

California desperately needs more medical workers at facilities swamped by coronavirus patients, and almost no help is coming from a volunteer program that Gov. Gavin Newsom created at the start of the pandemic.

An army of 95,000 initially raised their hands, but just 14 are now working in the field after others failed to meet requirements and qualifications.

Stephanie Roberson, government relations director for the California Nurses Association said: "Unfortunately, it hasn´t worked out, and the goal is laudable."

Medical staff across California fear there won't be space to for new Covid patients as beds are already full.

Dr. Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center said: "It takes two to three weeks for patients to get sick enough to need the hospital after they've gotten the virus, and Christmas was only two weeks ago, and we're already full."

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