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COVID hospitalizations reach new high with seven-day average of more than 140,000 to surpass last winter's peak as cases rise in all 50 states and Omicron continues to spread

  More people are in hospital battling   COVID-19   than at any other time during the pandemic, as the   Omicron   surge sees no sign of aba...

 More people are in hospital battling COVID-19 than at any other time during the pandemic, as the Omicron surge sees no sign of abating.

On Tuesday, there were 62,308,132 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. and 842,141 deaths.

The U.S. is now regularly reporting more than a million new cases every day - a milestone that was first reached on January 3.

On Tuesday, 1,483,656 new cases were reported, according to Johns Hopkins data. There were 1,906 deaths. 

The seven-day average of people hospitalized with COVID was 140,576 - more than last year's winter surge, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Department of Health and Human Services data - and comes as exhausted hospital staff are themselves failing sick, leading to staffing shortages, according to a Wall St

'People who are getting hospitalized right now, because we are so short of staff and capacity to care for everyone, they're very sick or they've been in a significant trauma,' Nancy Foster, vice president for quality and patient safety policy at the American Hospital Association, told the outlet.

'They need to be in the hospital.' 

A US Marine veteran is treated by medical workers in a negative pressure room in the COVID-19 ward. The veteran was pictured on Tuesday at the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare, as nationwide a record number of COVID patients were hospitalized

A US Marine veteran is treated by medical workers in a negative pressure room in the COVID-19 ward. The veteran was pictured on Tuesday at the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare, as nationwide a record number of COVID patients were hospitalized

Hackensack Meridian Health in New Jersey, the state's largest system with 17 hospitals, recently had between 750 and 1,000 of its 35,000 employees out sick with COVID-19, said Daniel Varga, the chief physician executive there.

'The challenge has just been the sheer numbers of folks that have been affected, both patients who are coming in but also team members and physicians who are there to care for these folks,' Dr. Varga told The Wall Street Journal

The rise in hospitalizations is because so many people are falling sick with the Omicron variant, medics say -  not because the mutation is especially dangerous. 

'It's a numbers game,' said Michelle Prickett, a pulmonary and critical-care specialist at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

'We are still seeing people struggling, we are still seeing the destruction of the lungs,' she said. 

Medical workers are pictured on Tuesday at the VA in West Roxbury, Massachusetts

Medical workers are pictured on Tuesday at the VA in West Roxbury, Massachusetts

A spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal that, by last week, the 11 hospitals in the larger Northwestern Medicine system had 16 percent more COVID-19 patients than in the last peak, hit in November 2020, and the rate is expected to grow.  

COVID cases are rising in all 50 U.S. states over the past two weeks, as an Omicron surge has caused cases to triple nationwide over the past two weeks. All but four states are recording more than twice the cases they were 14 days ago. 

Despite the rising cases, deaths in America have remained low, and data revealed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week.


Rhode Island is now the leader in daily case rate, with America's smallest state now recording 418 infections per every 100,000 residents every day. 

The state takes the dubious honor long held by New York and New Jersey. The Ocean state is recording a high volume of cases despite one of the highest vaccination rates in America, with 77 percent of residents having received their shots. Cases in the state have more that tripled over the past two weeks.

New York has the second highest case rate, with 379 of every 100,000 residents testing positive for the virus every day. 

Right behind it is neighboring New Jersey, at 357 cases for every 100,000 residents. 

Both states have struggled more than any others with the Omicron variant, mainly because of the rampant spread of cases in New York City, and many commuting from the Big Apple into other parts of the state and into Jersey.

Massachusetts is the fourth and final state to be recording more than 300 cases per every 100,000 residents, with 354 of every 100,000 testing positive daily.

All four of the states dealing with the highest case rates in America have vaccination rates over 70 percent, showing the ability for the now dominant Omicron strain to evade protection provided by the jabs. 

According to most recent CDC data, the variant now accounts for 98 percent of new cases in the U.S. 

As a testament to the vaccines, and their ability to prevent death in cases of breakthrough infection, none of the states recording the most cases find themselves among the state with the 15 highest death rates.

While northeastern states are recording the highest case rates, the actual growth in COVID cases in those states has slowed. 

Many of them were hit early by Omicron, experiencing surges of the variant in early to mid-December. The variant already seems to be losing steam, though, and growth is slowing. 

Some experts are hopeful that the peak is being neared for the hardest struck states so far, and cases will soon begin to decline.

Cases are rampantly rising elsewhere in the country, though, as the variant leaves the northeast and starts its tear elsewhere. 

The U.S. South has become the most recent hotspot for the virus, and lower vaccination rates in the region have allowed it to spread even faster than it did in their peer states up north.

South Carolina is currently the nationwide leader in case growth over the past two weeks, with new cases jumping 759 percent over the past two weeks. The state has a vaccination rate of only 54 percent

Many other nearby states like Mississippi (483 percent case growth over past two weeks), North Carolina (479 percent), Arkansas (550 percent) and Alabama (483 percent) are also among national leaders in case growth over the past two weeks.

The West coast is getting slammed by the recent Omicron outbreak as well. States that had their situations largely under control only weeks ago find themselves undergoing huge case surges as well.

California has seen its cases increase nearly seven-fold over the past two weeks, up 597 percent in 14 days. To the north, Oregon has experienced similar growth of 577 percent.  Utah has also experienced a 570 percent increase during the same period.

The Midwest and great plains first dealt with COVID surges in October, as early cold weather months struck them harder than the rest of the nation. Cases quickly declined afterwards, though, and it looked like winter would not be as brutal for the region as everywhere else at some points.

Case trends have quickly reversed, though. Now, states like Montana (469 percent growth over the past two weeks), Wyoming (466 percent) and South Dakota (413 percent) find themselves among those with the highest case growth in the country.

The states experiencing the most cases, or the most case growth, are not those that are bearing the burden of deaths, though.

Indiana is currently experiencing the most deaths in America by a large margin. The Hoosier state is the only one to record more than 1.2 deaths per every 100,000 residents, at 1.51.

Three other states are experiencing more than one COVID death for every 100,000 residents every day, Delaware (1.16 out of every 100,000 residents), Wyoming (1.14) and New Mexico (1.05).

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