Jan. 6 (UPI) — Nearly 3,800 Americans died from COVID-19 on Tuesday — the highest single-day death toll so far during the pandemic — and hospitalizations again rose to record levels, new data showed.
There were 3,775 coronavirus-related deaths nationwide, breaking the previous one-day record of 3,750 set last week, according to disease trackers at Johns Hopkins University.
Tuesday’s death toll was the third to exceed 3,700 in eight days and raised the U.S. seven-day average to more than 2,600 — 18% higher than the previous week. Some 11,500 Americans have died from COVID-19 during the first five days of 2021.
About 230,000 new infections were confirmed Tuesday, the second-highest daily total since Dec. 18. Only Saturday’s all-time mark of 297,000 new cases has been higher during that span, the Johns Hopkins data showed.
Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has recorded more than 21 million cases and 357,385 deaths.
Hospitalizations, meanwhile, continued to climb to ever-higher record levels.
Nearly 3,000 additional Americans required hospital care for COVID-19 on Tuesday, pushing the nationwide total for hospitalizations above 130,000 for the first time, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
In California, where Los Angeles-area hospitals began rationing medical supplies and care this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom has requested an additional 500 federal medical personnel to help the state’s overwhelmed hospitals.
The California Office of Emergency Services said the request comes after the federal government notified state officials that the USNS Mercy Hospital ship is undergoing maintenance in dry dock and is not available for deployment.
The request seeks 360 Defense Department medical personnel, 135 U.S. Health and Human Services Disaster Medical Assistance Team personnel and an additional 50 FEMA personnel, bringing the current federal augmentation request to more than 500 staff.
“Bringing additional medical staff into the state will allow us to save lives and ensure our hospitals systems are not overstretched,” Newsom said. “Now is the time to use every resources at our disposal to fight the spread of this virus and protect Californians.”
The state health department reported intensive care unit capacity in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley stood at 0% on Tuesday. Six “alternate care sites” were active with COVID-19 patients, including four in Southern California, emergency officials said.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said Wednesday the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States is “quickly ramping up.”
Adams told ABC’s Good Morning America that U.S. vaccinations are now approaching 500,000 per day after the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed missed its promised goal of 20 million inoculations by the end of 2020.
Only 4.8 million American had been vaccinated as of early Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We’re going to make sure we’re putting vaccines and supplies where the demand actually is, and you’re going to continue to see these rates ramp up,” Adams said.
“It is by no means as good as we would want it to be, but I want the American people to keep this in perspective: most difficult vaccine rollout in history. It’s ramping up and you’ll see things rapidly increase over the next couple of weeks.”
Operation Warp Speed officials said 3 million vaccine doses were distributed Tuesday, bringing the total number of doses distributed more than 19 million in the 21 days since they were approved by regulators.