WASHINGTON — The United States recorded more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, the most coronavirus deaths in a single day since the pandemic began.
The top three highest days of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. have all taken place this week, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.
On Thursday there were a record-setting 4,085 people who died, followed by 3,854 deaths on Wednesday and Tuesday there were 3,768 lives lost.
The virus is surging in virtually every state, with California particularly hard hit. Skyrocketing deaths and infections there are threatening to force hospitals to ration care and essentially decide who lives and who dies.
“Folks are gasping for breath. Folks look like they’re drowning when they are in bed right in front of us,” said Dr. Jeffrey Chien, an emergency room physician at Santa Clara Valley Regional Medical Center, urging people to do their part to help slow the spread. “I’m begging everyone to help us out because we aren’t the front line. We’re the last line.”
About 1.9 million people around the world have died of the coronavirus, more than 365,000 in the U.S. alone. December was by far the nation's deadliest month yet, and health experts are warning that January could be worse still because of family gatherings and travel over the holidays.
As of Friday morning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported almost 6 million people in the U.S. had gotten their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine — well short of the hundreds of millions of Americans who will need to be vaccinated to stop the virus.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.