The Centers for Disease Control head warned that this winter may be the “most difficult time” in U.S. public health history. More than 100,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, a grim record amid three straight weeks of them: more than double the number at the beginning of November. That is a clear indicator of what the days ahead may look like, experts say.
“If you tell me the hospitalizations are up this week, I’ll tell you that several weeks down the road, the deaths will be up,” said Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency medicine physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
This spring, hospital occupancy peaked on April 15 at 59,924, according to data provided by The Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project. That record held until Nov. 10, when the U.S. saw 62,059 hospitalized; the number has crept steadily higher every day since.
Of the 100,226 currently hospitalized, 19,396 are in intensive care units and 6,855 are on a ventilator.
Also on Wednesday, New York City reported a seven-day average positive test rate of 4.8 percent, its highest rate since May 29, when testing was less widespread and nonessential businesses in the city were shut down.
“These numbers have changed a lot, very rapidly,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference.
The numbers would likely continue to worsen through at least January, Mr. Cuomo said, adding that he would start next week holding regular news briefings three times a week.