US nears 350,000 coronavirus deaths as some hospitals reach ‘breaking point.’ Get the latest numbers

The US topped 20 million total infections and inched closer to 350,000 Covid-19 deaths on the first day of 2021 — proof of a grim reality continuing into the new year.

More people have died across the US than anywhere else: nearly 348,000 Americans since the pandemic’s start. Another 115,000 could die over the next month, according to projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

For comparison, more than 77,500 died in December, the country’s deadliest month.

Hospitalizations are at the highest levels they’ve ever been. The US reported a record 125,379 hospitalized Covid-19 patients nationwide Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. That number dipped slightly Friday, with 125,057 hospitalizations reported — about an 163% increase from two months ago.

A California doctor said hospitals have hit a “breaking point.”

“We’re also worried that at some point soon we’re going to have a really tough time finding the space and the staff to take care of all the sick patients coming in with Covid-19 who really need our help,” said Dr. Nicole Van Groningen of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Friday’s milestone also means the nation has recorded by far the most Covid-19 infections. It’s double what No. 2 India has reported and almost triple what No. 3 Brazil has.

But the worst may not be over. Experts fear that in the coming weeks — following holiday travel and gatherings — the US could see another surge of cases that could drive hospitalizations and deaths even higher. Read the full story here:

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Virus by the numbers