US Covid deaths top 2,000 on first day of 2021 as experts predict post-holiday explosion of casesJanuary 2, 2021
THE new year is off to a grim start in the United States, where more than 2,000 Americans died from coronavirus on Friday as hospitals continue to be overwhelmed.
For the 31st day in a row, more than 100,000 patients were hospitalized nationwide on the first day of 2021. At least 125,057 patients are battling Covid – the third day hospitalizations exceeded 125,000, according to the COVID tracking project.
To date, Covid has killed 347,788 in the US, or about one in every 950 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins University, and has the 16th-highest number of national per capita Covid deaths in the world.
Earlier on Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of a fatal post-holiday surge in cases in the weeks to come, predicting another 82,000 deaths within the next month.
Experts' harrowing projections came as California has become the country's latest Covid epicenter despite having some of the strictest rules on social gatherings and business activities.
Hospitals in the largest US state have quickly run out of space in cities like Santa Clara, where intensive care units are so full that patients are being treated in the emergency room.
"Often, the only time we can move someone is when a Covid patient dies," Dr Marco Randazzo said in a news conference on Thursday.
Things could become even more deadly with the discovery of a new "super Covid" strain from the UK in the Golden State a man in his 30s with no travel history has been diagnosed with the highly contagious strain in San Diego.
The patient is a man in his thirties with no travel history – raising fears of more cases in the state.
He began developing symptoms on Sunday and it was confirmed in the early hours of Wednesday that he had the UK Covid strain, San Diego County supervisor Nathan Fletcher said.
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced the infectious mutant strain had made its way to the Golden State, fueling fears of a rapid spread across the US.
Newsom was speaking to Dr Anthony Fauci at a live-streamed event when he revealed the news.
He said: "Just an hour or so ago we were informed that this new variant – this new strain that we have identified obviously from the UK and some other parts of the globe identified in Colorado yesterday – has been identified here in the state of California."
Dr Fauci said the case discovery didn't come as a surprise.
The infectious disease expert said: "We likely will be seeing reports from other states.
"Colorado was the first place to do that and I think we will start seeing it… through other countries intermittently."
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