THE US has hit another grim milestone as it recorded almost 278,000 new Covid cases – the highest single day rise of the pandemic.
It come as new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data suggested the true coronavirus death toll may be almost 470,000.
America continues to suffer under from the virus as doctors warned the fight against Covid is “literally World War Three”.
The total number of US deaths in the pandemic has now topped 350,000 as 2,385 fatalities were recorded by the Covid Tracking Project.
It also traced the biggest single day rise so far as 277,897 new cases were reported across the United States.
The project estimates some 123,614 Americas are currently in hospital, 23,133 are in intensive care and 7,910 currently need a ventilator.
John Hopkins University said on Saturday night the US total cases has surged to 20,427,780 and the death toll had hit 350,186.
More than 10,000 people have died of Covid-19 in just the last three days – the equivalent of more than three 9/11s.
The death toll however has fallen from its grisly high of 3,903 on December 30.
Numbers however are expected to surge as a backlog of cases and deaths are recorded following the holiday season.
The CDC also calculated the number of excess deaths since February as being 431,792 as of December 19.
Factoring in the some 31,000 people who have died over the last two weeks it suggested the true Covid death toll is likely to be around 470,000.
This is a full-on category 10 … It’s literally World War Three
Dr Nick Kwan
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has projected that more than 100,000 could die over the next month.
US figures remain the worst for Covid in the world – accounting for a quarter of all cases despite having just 4 per cent of the world’s population.
And it comes as a new strain of mutant Covid, B117, that spreads more easily – which first originated in the UK – was discovered at a nursing home in Colorado.
California has the highest Covid case total with more than 2.3million, followed by Texas with 1.8million, Florida with 1.3million, and New York with just over one million.
Dr Nicole Van Groningen, from Cedars-Sinai medical center in Los Angeles, told CBS: “We really are at a breaking point.
“We are setting records every day in terms of patients we are caring for patients who have Covid-19.”
Dr. Brad Spellberg, chief medical officer at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center, told CNN: “We are seeing people who have gathered for Thanksgiving, or who have gathered for other reasons (and) didn’t truly understand, even to this point, what was at stake.”
He added: “This is about total collapse of the health care system if we have another spike.”
“And we, in the hospital, cannot stop that. We can only react to it.
“It is the public that has the power to put a stop to the spread of this virus by obeying the public health guidance that have been put out.”
Paramedics treat a suspected Covid patient in Hawthorne, California[/caption]
Cars line up at a Covid testing centre in California[/caption]
Dr Nick Kwan, assistant medical director of emergency services at Alhambra Hospital in LA county, told the LA Times: “This is a full-on category 10 … It’s literally World War Three.
He said: “It’s not the volume of patients. It’s the intensity and sickness of the patients.
“I’ve never thought some of these numbers are compatible with life, with patients coming in sicker than you can imagine.”
“I don’t think a lot of people outside are seeing what we are seeing,” Dr Kwan went on.
“It’s hard until you are in there, until your family and loved ones are in there.”
He added: “For the next month, I don’t see the end. It will keep piling up, and we have got to be ready.”
Dr Anthony Fauci warned January could be worse than December[/caption]
Dr Anthony Fauci warned January could be “even worse than December” while speaking on CNN.
He said: “That’s what we’re concerned about – that in addition to the surge, we’re going to have an increase superimposed upon that surge which could make January even worse than December.”
He added: “I think we just have to assume that it’s going to get worse.”
Nationwide the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is being rolled out – with some 3million Americans vaccinated so far – but many decisions are being made at state and local level.
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US officials had promised 20million vaccines by the end of 2020, and Dr Fauci called the failure “disappointing”.
The vaccine must be stored at a temperature of -94F must be administered as soon as possible after being taken out of the freezer.
President Donald Trump hit back and blamed the individual states, hailing the distribution by the federal government as “successful and very large scale”.
President elect Joe Biden warned before Christmas the “darkest days” in battling the pandemic are coming as he prepares to take office on January 20.