By Chantal Da Silva and Joe Murphy – NBC News
The United States registered 1.34 million new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, according to the NBC News count, reaching a daily rate of infections that breaks world records and that has also caused a worrying rebound in the number of hospitalizations.
Daily case counts are usually high on Mondays because many states do not provide their new infection data on the weekend. However, 1,343,167 new infections (the previous record, on January 3, was 1,044,970) illustrate how the omicron variant continues to spread uncontrollably.
[Las vacunas específicas para ómicron estarán listas en marzo. ¿Harán falta?]
It is also the highest daily figure recorded worldwide, according to an analysis by the Reuters news agency.
The United States on Monday added a total of 61,490,917 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to NBC News.
The weekly average of cases also reached its highest point on Monday, with 740,594 daily infections and at least 24 states reporting records in the average of the last seven days.
Record hospitalizations in Louisiana and Florida
These record numbers caused hospitalizations due to the coronavirus will also skyrocket: on Monday a weekly average of 135,574 infected patients was registered in hospitals, 83% more than in the last two weeks.
The increase has been particularly notable in some states in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, according to an analysis by NBC News based on data from the Department of Health.
Washington DC had the highest per capita hospitalization rate in the country, followed by Ohio, New Jersey, and New York.
[Los estudiantes vuelven a clases en Los Ángeles en plena ola de COVID-19]
The southern states, however, have suffered the largest increases in the last two weeks: in Louisiana, the weekly average of hospitalizations increased 341%, from 340 to 1,501 in 14 days. In Florida, meanwhile, the average increased 277%, from 2,426 to 9,169 patients, according to the NBC News tally.
As the highly contagious omicron variant continues to spread, hospitals have also reported an increasing trend of seeing patients admitted for other ailments that also test positive for COVID-19.
Doctors have told NBC News that the trend could mean more people have asymptomatic or undiagnosed cases than current data shows.
The increases in infections and hospitalizations are expected to saturate the health care system in the coming weeks. “
In its weekly report on COVID-19 released on Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that cases across the country continue to “increase rapidly” on the impulse of omicron.
CDC projections suggest that omicron may now account for about 95% of COVID-19 cases in the country.
“The entire country is now experiencing high levels of community transmission,” the federal agency warned, “although early data suggests that omicron infections may be less severe than other variants, increases in cases and hospitalizations saturate the health care system in the coming weeks. “