The US set a new coronavirus hospitalization record for the fifth time in the last week on Sunday with more than 125,500, as American airports saw their busiest day since the start of the pandemic with more than 1.19 million passengers taking to the skies.
The latest hospitalization numbers came from the COVID Tracking Project, which noted that the true number is likely even higher as 14 states and territories had not yet published their tallies for Sunday.
At least 204,805 new cases and 1,431 new deaths were reported around the country on Sunday, excluding seven states and territories that hadn’t shared any data by the time of COVID Tracking’s update.
Despite alarming surges over the holiday season millions of Americans have ignored experts’ pleas and continued traveling by air.
US airports saw more passengers than any day since the start of the pandemic on Saturday with 1,192,881, according to the Transportation Security Administration. Since December 18, more than 16.3 million people have passed through airport checkpoints.
Dr Anthony Fauci on Sunday said he is not surprised that coronavirus infections have continued to skyrocket around the US.
‘It’s terrible, it’s unfortunate, but it was predictable,’ Fauci told Meet the Press.
He and other top health officials have warned that the numbers will only get worse in the next few weeks as the effects of holiday travel and gatherings become clear.
In another interview on Sunday, Fauci disputed a claim by President Donald Trump that federal data on COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States is overblown.
Daily coronavirus statistics have been skewed in recent weeks due to delays in reporting over the holiday period.
COVID Tracking Project noted in its Sunday update that seven states and territories out of 56 it tracks had not yet shared their daily data: Arkansas, Connecticut, Kansas, Michigan, Rhode Island, Washington and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Seven additional states did not report current hospitalizations: Hawaii, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon and Wisconsin.
Hospitalizations in the US have risen by 162 percent in the past two months, setting new records on five different days in the last week.
Fauci and other experts have repeatedly warned that the spike in hospitalizations will inevitably be followed by a spike in deaths, with the CDC predicting a total of 383,000 to 424,000 COVID-19 fatalities by the week ending January 23, 2021.
On the high end of the model, that could mean that more than 73,000 people could die within the next three weeks.