16 states recorded their highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations this week as new cases reach an all-time high

A nurse dons personal protective equipment (PPE) to attend to a patients in a Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Community Hospital on January 6, 2021 in the Willowbrook neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images
  • 16 states across the US on Friday reported their highest total of people hospitalized for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

  • Since last fall, cases of COVID-19 have surged across the US, with numbers worsening in states following the holiday season.

  • Late last year, the US Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for two COVID-19 vaccines, but a slow rollout means it will be many months before all who want a vaccination are immunized. 

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More than a dozen US states this week reported a record number of hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients, according to data from the COVID-19 Tracking Project published Friday.

The majority of the 16 states that saw the record totals were in the US south, and include Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Record hospitalizations were also seen this week in Arizona, California, Delaware, and Maine.

Including the 16 states that reported hospitalization records this week, more than three dozen states and territories have reported record hospitalizations for COVID-19 since the beginning of November, according to the data.

The COVID-19 Tracking Project was created last year by The Atlantic and regularly monitors and publishes data related to the pandemic.


A record number - 310,000 - new cases of COVID-19 were reported Friday, according to the data, with the majority of new infections reported in New Jersey - 20,000 new cases - and in California - 50,000 new cases.

As The Los Angeles Times reported, officials at some California hospitals are being forced to take drastic actions, including the creation of panels to determine who receives life-saving care, to prevent their healthcare system from collapsing under the pressure of the surge of COVID-19 cases.

Hospitalizations in Arizona and California have risen at an "alarming rate," the project said, noting that the numbers of hospitalizations in these states have "far surpassed their summer surge."

According to the COVID-19 Tracking Project data, more than 23,000 people in the US have died since the new year began just over a week ago, with more than 3,700 new deaths reported Friday. In total, more than 368,000 people in the country have died from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus since the pandemic first began early last year, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, which also tracks and publishes COVID-19 data.

Cases of COVID-19 began to surge in the fall months of 2020, and the numbers have continued to worsen in states across the US following the holiday season, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. Public health officials and state leaders urged people to stay at home for the holidays, but millions of people traveled anyway in the months of November and December.

Late last year, the US Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorization for two different COVID-19 vaccines, though the US rollout is left up to state governments and will be slow. Experts say it will be many months before all Americans who desire a vaccine can be immunized, prolonging the pandemic.

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