Severe coronavirus infections continue to mount
Deaths and severe illness from the coronavirus continue to set new records almost every day, especially in the South and the West.
The big picture: More than 130,000 Americans are in the hospital today with COVID-19 infections. That's straining several states' health care systems and will keep pushing the virus' death toll higher and higher.
By the numbers: In 34 states, coronavirus patients are occupying at least 10% of all hospital beds.
- Arizona, California and Nevada are in exceptionally bad shape — over 30% of all the hospital beds in each state are filled with coronavirus patients.
- 11 states are seeing more hospitalizations now than at any other point in the pandemic.
Why it matters: Hospitalizations are an indicator of severe infection. Mildly sick patients generally aren't hospitalized, especially in states that don't have the capacity to handle many more patients at all.
- And people who are sick enough to warrant a hospital stay are the patients most at risk of dying from the virus.
- The virus has already killed roughly 350,000 people in the U.S. and is killing about 3,000 people per day.
The bottom line: The U.S. just seems to have accepted that 3,000 people are going to keep dying every day, at least until we can all get vaccinated — assuming we're all willing to get vaccinated.