The US recorded its highest daily level of coronavirus deaths yesterday, as hospitalisations with Covid exceeded 100,000 for the first time since the pandemic began.

According to numbers from the Johns Hopkins University tracker, there were 3,157 new deaths recorded on Wednesday. The previous high was the 2,607 deaths recorded on 15 April at the beginning of the pandemic.

There were 200,070 new cases yesterday, marking only the second time that new cases have exceeded 200,000. With the total caseload now standing at 13,911,728, the US is set to record its 14 millionth case later today.

Yesterday Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), speaking at an event hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce, said that about 90% of hospitals in the country are at stretched capacity.

“We are at a very critical time right now about being able to maintain the resilience of our health-care system. The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times. I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that’s going to be put on our health-care system.”

Hospitalizations had been growing over the course of November, setting new records nearly every day. The 911 emergency call system has been described as “at a breaking point,” by the American Ambulance Association.

Task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx urged Americans who had traveled over the recent holiday weekend to behave as though they have the virus. “If you are under 40, you need to assume you became infected during the Thanksgiving period if you gathered beyond your immediate household. Most likely, you will not have symptoms; however, you are dangerous to others.”

April’s peak of cases and deaths was concentrated mostly in the states of New York and New England, but the current spread of the virus is across the whole country, and shows no sign of slowing down. Over 1.1 million new cases have been recorded in the last seven days alone. 273,621 have died in total.

Vice president Mike Pence, who has been leading the Trump administration response to the pandemic, will participate in a coronavirus response roundtable in Memphis, Tennessee later today.

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