More than one out of every 5,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 as the virus continues to spread at an unprecedented rate throughout the country.
There were 68,516 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S. as of Friday night, according to the COVID Tracking Project. That equals one hospitalization per approximately 4,825 people, based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s current population estimate of over 330.5 million. Of those hospitalized, 13,132 were said to be in intensive care units, while 3,769 were on ventilators.
Although the number of those hospitalized was alarmingly high, the number of those seeking treatment could be even higher. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that 13.5 percent of all visits to the emergency room are from patients with a “coronavirus like illness” or diagnostic code, or from those suffering from similar symptoms like shortness of breath, pneumonia or an “influenza like illness.”
New U.S. cases of the virus have continually broken records during November, reaching an all-time high of over 170,000 new cases on Friday. The case count was lower than that reported by the CDC, which said there were 194,610 new cases on the same day. The country has recorded more than 10.5 million cases since the first case was reported in January. China, where the virus first emerged late last year, has only recorded around 92,000 total cases.
Our daily update is published. States reported a record 1.7 million tests, 170k cases, and 69k current COVID-19 hospitalizations. The death toll was 1,301. pic.twitter.com/P11appz1Uj
— The COVID Tracking Project (@COVID19Tracking) November 13, 2020
“This is the worst the pandemic has been,” Dr. Preeti Malani, Chief Health Officer in the Divisions of Infectious Diseases and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Michigan, told NPR. “You have the entire country seeing surges and you’re seeing it in rural areas and in urban areas. It’s a reflection of the fact that COVID is so widespread.”
“This is a really dangerous time,” Malani added. “It’s not too late. We can still turn things around, but it’s going to require a big effort.”
Multiple modeling forecasts cited by the CDC predict likely increases in hospitalizations as the virus continues to spread, with an increase of between 3,200 and 19,000 additional daily hospitalizations expected by December 7. Since COVID-19 patients can be hospitalized for many days or weeks, the health care system is likely to quickly become overrun if the predictions are accurate.
Although millions have recovered from COVID-19, deaths caused by the virus have risen and are expected to keep rising alongside new cases. The COVID Tracking Project reported 1,301 new deaths on Friday, with over 235,000 total deaths. CDC statistics differed somewhat, adding 1,147 deaths for a larger total of 242,216 on Friday.
Newsweek reached out to the CDC for comment.