For the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 100,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized with COVID-19. It comes as the White House is warning states that the virus "risk to all Americans is at a historic high" and hospitals are trying to bring nurses and doctors out of retirement.
The COVID Tracking Project said Wednesday that 100,226 are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. There is also a record number of people in intensive care (19,396) and the number on ventilators (6,855) is approaching the record set back during the initial surge in May
With hospitals pushing capacity, or already there, concerns are growing that the number of patients could quickly double and make it hard to treat not only those with COVID-19 but also other medical conditions.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we stand at 200,000 people hospitalized in the next month," Dr. Robert Glatter, a New York City emergency room physician, told USA TODAY. "Explosive growth of the virus has the potential to overrun our ability to provide care."
There have been 13.9 million cases of COVID-19 total in the U.S. since the pandemic started, a Johns Hopkins University tracker said Wednesday. Almost 180,000 new daily cases and 2,500 deaths were reported by 7 p.m. ET Wednesday (JHU typically releases final daily numbers around 1 a.m. the next day).
Nearly 2,600 deaths were reported Tuesday, just short of the all-time high set in April.
In a Nov. 29 update to states, the White House Coronavirus Task Force said Americans under 40 years old who saw people outside their household for Thanksgiving should assume they're infected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is already issuing guidance to Americans for the upcoming holidays, and the advice is clear: Stay home or get tested before and after traveling if they decide to leave town.
The Associated Press reports U.S. hospitals slammed with COVID-19 patients are trying to lure nurses and doctors out of retirement, recruiting students and new graduates who have yet to earn their licenses and offering eye-popping salaries in a desperate effort to ease staffing shortages.
In a major milestone, Britain authorized the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, and could begin dispensing shots this week.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration could issue an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine, with a critical meeting set for next Thursday. An advisory board told the CDC Tuesday that health workers and long-term care residents should be first to get a vaccine.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.