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US COVID-19: Country Sets Daily Record After 275,897 Americans Test Positive


The United States has set another record for new COVID-19 cases, with more than 275,000 people testing positive in a single day as the growing number of hospitalizations continues to cripple state health systems.

At least 275,897 new infections were reported nationwide by Saturday evening. According to the COVID Tracking Project, this is the biggest increase since the pandemic began in March.

The hospital admissions remained above the six-digit range. 123,639 people are currently being treated for the virus. Of those in the hospital, 23,152 are in intensive care and 7,918 are on ventilators, the data shows.

Daily deaths have fallen below 3,000 in the past two days. 2,367 deaths were reported on Saturday. However, the changes could be due to a backlog due to the holidays.

Seven states were not included in today's data, and nine more did not update their current hospital stay numbers. However, these metrics are expected to stabilize over the next week, according to the COVID tracking project.

The health crisis has gotten particularly bad in California, which was once a role model in the fight against the outbreak, where hospitals are overloaded with COVID patients and funeral directors no longer have room for the pent-up bodies.

Hospital doctors and nurses treat Covid-19 patients in a makeshift intensive care wing in West Oeste at Harbor UCLA Medical Center on Tuesday, December 29, 2020 in Torrence, California

As of Saturday evening, at least 275,897 new infections had been reported nationwide - another record for daily reported cases in the United States

As of Saturday evening, at least 275,897 new infections had been reported nationwide – another record for daily reported cases in the United States

Daily deaths have fallen below 3,000 in the past two days. 2,367 deaths were reported on Saturday. However, the changes could be due to a backlog due to the holidays

Daily deaths have fallen below 3,000 in the past two days. 2,367 deaths were reported on Saturday. However, the changes could be due to a backlog due to the holidays

Meanwhile, in Florida, where more and more cases are occurring, residents flocked to Miami's beaches and popular bars to celebrate the New Year.

On Saturday we saw hundreds of revelers soaking up the sun on South Beach while others flocked to a noisy pool party at a nearby hotel.

The revelers were drinking drinks and dancing to music as their celebrations fell on the sidewalk, which seemed to worry some elderly citizens who were walking around at the same time.

On the same day, Miami-Dade County recorded more than 5,000 new cases of COVID-19, as well as 51 new deaths from the virus.

Miami has recorded a total of 304,000 coronavirus cases since the pandemic started early last year.

Health officials fear the recent holiday gatherings could add another surge in cases and lead to a surge in virus-related deaths that will occur later this month.

Funeral directors in Southern California have been forced to turn away grieving families because they run out of space for the pent-up bodies.

"I've been in the funeral business for 40 years and I never thought in my life that this could happen, that I would have to say to a family, 'No, we can't take your family member in," he told Magda Maldonado, owner of Continental Funeral Home in Los Angeles.

Continental removes an average of 30 body removals per day – six times its normal rate. Corpse owners call each other to see if anyone can handle overflow and the answer is always the same: they're full too.

To keep up with the flurry of corpses, Maldonado has rented additional 50-foot refrigerators for two of the four facilities it operates in LA and surrounding counties.

Continental has also delayed hospital collections for a day or two while they cater to private customers.

Bob Achermann, executive director of the California Funeral Directors Association, said the entire process of burial and cremation has slowed, including embalming corpses and obtaining death certificates.

Funeral directors at the Southern California hot spot say they must turn away grieving families because they run out of space for the piled corpses. Magda Maldonado, owner of the Continental Funeral Home in Los Angeles, is pictured above in her morgue

Funeral directors at the Southern California hot spot say they must turn away grieving families because they run out of space for the piled corpses. Magda Maldonado, owner of the Continental Funeral Home in Los Angeles, is pictured above in her morgue

An empty coffin is being delivered to the Continental Funeral Home in East Los Angeles on Thursday amid a spate of Covid-19 deaths. The funeral home currently has around 150 families waiting for services for their loved ones

An empty coffin is being delivered to the Continental Funeral Home in East Los Angeles on Thursday amid a spate of Covid-19 deaths. The funeral home currently has around 150 families waiting for services for their loved ones

Maricela Arreguin Mejia (right) shares a video stream with family members mourning the death of their father Gilberto Arreguin Camacho (58) due to Covid-19 during a tour of the Continental Funeral Home

Maricela Arreguin Mejia (right) shares a video stream with family members mourning the death of their father Gilberto Arreguin Camacho (58) due to Covid-19 during a tour of the Continental Funeral Home

During normal times, the cremation can be completed within a day or two. Now it will take at least a week or more.

Hospitals in the area are overwhelmed and struggling to keep up with basics like oxygen as they treat an unprecedented number of patients with breathing problems.

Achermann said that in the southern part of the state, "every funeral home I speak to says," We're paddling as fast as we can. "

"The volume is just amazing and they fear they won't be able to keep up," he said. "And the worst climb could still be ahead of us."

Los Angeles County, the epicenter of the California crisis, has exceeded 10,000 COVID-19 deaths alone.

Hospitals in the area are overwhelmed and struggling to keep up with basics like oxygen as they treat an unprecedented number of patients with breathing problems.

Crews from the US Army Corps of Engineers arrived on Saturday to update some hospitals' oxygen systems.

North Carolina officials also reported a record of 9,527 confirmed cases on New Year's Day. That's more than 1,000 cases above the previous day's high.

A funeral was held in Louisiana on Saturday for an elected Congressman who died of complications from COVID-19. Republican Luke Letlow died Tuesday at the age of 41.

His swearing-in was scheduled for Sunday. He leaves behind his wife Julia Letlow and two children aged 1 and 3.

In Miami, the celebrated night owls were in effect at the end of the year despite increasing coronavirus cases

In Miami, the celebrated night owls were in effect at the end of the year despite increasing coronavirus cases

On South Beach, locals and tourists packed loungers and drinks in the sand. They appeared to be in a solemn mood despite the ongoing pandemic

On South Beach, locals and tourists packed loungers and drinks in the sand. They appeared to be in a solemn mood despite the ongoing pandemic

Revelers dressed in bikinis are celebrating the New Year in Miami, seemingly unmoved by the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the city. Maskless party animals frolic on a sidewalk in the city, approaching alarmingly an elderly citizen pushing a hiker along

Bikini revelers are celebrating the New Year in Miami, seemingly unmoved by the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the city. Maskless party animals frolic on a sidewalk in the city, approaching alarmingly an elderly citizen pushing a hiker along

The night owls rang the bell in the New Year and mingled on the streets while others attended a big pool party at the SLS Hotel

The night owls rang the bell in the New Year and mingled on the streets while others attended a big pool party at the SLS Hotel

Despite the start of a new year, the pandemic shows no signs of subsiding. Florida had the highest daily number of coronavirus cases last Thursday. Teens partying in Miami didn't seem to be affected by the spike

Despite the start of a new year, the pandemic shows no signs of subsiding. Florida had the highest daily number of coronavirus cases last Thursday. Teens partying in Miami didn't seem to be affected by the spike

In Texas, state officials say they have only 580 intensive care beds available as staff treat more than 12,480 coronavirus patients in the hospital. That number has risen steadily since September and hit record highs in the past week.

Following the current trend, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington predicts the death toll will reach 456,238 by January 31st.

However, the statistical model claimed that universal wearing of masks and a rapid introduction of the vaccine could save about 13,000 lives in the next four weeks.

The slow and at times chaotic introduction of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has been sharply criticized by a number of political leaders, including President-elect Joe Biden and Republican Senator Mitt Romney.

According to the model, a quick vaccine rollout would only save about 1,000 lives in January. Since the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both take several weeks to provide effective protection, their actual effects would only be visible over a longer period of time.

According to a Bloomberg analysis, 3.49 million doses of vaccine were administered across the country on Saturday. That makes up only 28 percent of the vaccine doses distributed across the states, and means 1.1 percent of the total population received a dose.

It had fallen far short of the Trump administration's goal of vaccinating 20 million Americans with the first of two required doses by the end of 2020.

Senator Romney, a Republican from Utah and a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, made an emotional statement on Friday calling on the U.S. government to immediately involve veterinarians, medics and others in a dramatic proposal to step up vaccination efforts.

Following the current trend, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington predicts the death toll will reach 456,238 by January 31st

Following the current trend, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington predicts the death toll will reach 456,238 by January 31st

The swift introduction of vaccines would have the greatest impact from February, as vaccines take weeks to work. IHME's predictions of daily deaths are shown above

The swift introduction of vaccines would have the greatest impact from February, as vaccines take weeks to work. IHME's predictions of daily deaths are shown above

Health care workers take a patient to a New York hospital on New Years Day. The total number of COVID-19 cases in the US since March was over 20 million as of Friday

Health care workers take a patient to a New York hospital on New Years Day. The total number of COVID-19 cases in the US since March was over 20 million as of Friday

Fire Chief Colin Stowell (left) receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the San Diego Fire-Rescue Training Facility Thursday

Fire Chief Colin Stowell (left) receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the San Diego Fire-Rescue Training Facility Thursday

"The fact that no comprehensive vaccination plans were developed at the federal level and sent as models to the federal states is as incomprehensible as it is inexcusable," said Romney in a statement that may have been addressed to the incoming Biden administration as well as the outgoing Trump administration.

"It was unrealistic to assume that health care workers already overloaded with Covid Care could embark on a massive vaccination program," said Romney.

He called on the government to "involve any retired or active medical professional not currently involved in the provision of care into a crash program of government-run vaccination centers across the country.

"These could be vets, combat physicians and corpsmen, medical students, rescue workers, first responders and many others who could easily be trained to administer vaccines," he suggested.

Romney also proposed a scheme to "schedule vaccinations according to a person's priority category and date of birth: for example, people in Group A with a first birthday in January would be assigned a specific day to get their vaccination."

Regarding his experience overseeing the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Romney also included what might be considered a pitch for the Biden administration to offer his own assistance, saying, "I have experience organizing one major logistical event, "but added humbly that it was" nothing of the order of what is required today. "

Hundreds wait in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Fort Myers, Florida Thursday. Floridians over 65 may receive the vaccine based on availability

Hundreds wait in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Fort Myers, Florida Thursday. Floridians over 65 may receive the vaccine based on availability

Biden also took a look at oversight of the Trump administration in a tweet on Friday, writing, "Let me be clear, the Biden-Harris administration will go out of their way to ensure that people are vaccinated."

Biden has vowed to invoke the Defense Production Act and ensure that 100 million vaccines are administered in his first 100 days in office, though he has given few specific details on how this will be achieved.

California, the most populous state with a population of 40 million, has become a major pandemic hotspot in the United States despite some of the country's toughest restrictions on social gatherings and business activities.

The rising COVID-19 caseload has pushed hospitals in and around Los Angeles to their limits, overcrowded emergency rooms, intensive care units, ambulance bays and morgues and caused staff shortages.

Cathy Chidester, director of the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency, described the situation on Thursday as a "hidden disaster" that is not clearly visible to the public.

Medical experts attribute the worsening pandemic in recent weeks to the arrival of colder weather and the failure of many Americans to comply with public health warnings and requirements to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel during the year-end holiday season.

The funeral services for Grandfather Gilberto Arreguin Camacho, who died of Covid-19, will be held on Wednesday at the Continental Funeral Home in East Los Angeles, California

The funeral services for Grandfather Gilberto Arreguin Camacho, who died of Covid-19, will be held on Wednesday at the Continental Funeral Home in East Los Angeles, California

The health systems crisis has become particularly acute in Los Angeles County, where a patient dies from the respiratory virus every 10 minutes, according to the county health department.

With increased demands on the care of people with breathing difficulties, many hospitals in the area are lacking oxygen, both in supply and in the ability of older facilities to maintain adequate pressure flow through the ventilators, Chidester said.

She also described ambulances being forced to wait several hours at a time to unload patients, causing delays in the entire county emergency response system.

To reduce emergency room overcrowding, the county is refusing to transport ambulances to hospitals for emergency patients already in hospice care with no-resuscitation guidelines, according to Adam Blackstone, a spokesman for the Hospital Association of Southern California.

Leading U.S. Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday he was confident of overcoming early disruptions in the vaccination campaign, saying America could still gain enough collective immunity through vaccinations to regain some semblance of normality by fall 2021.

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