The new ‘super COVID’ variant first detected in the UK is continuing to sweep across the U.S. as more cases have been identified.
As of Tuesday morning, 82 infections have been detected in 10 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas.
California currently has the highest number of reported cases with 34 in total – 32 in San Diego County and two in San Bernadino County – and Florida is close behind with 22 cases.
New York has the third highest number of cases with Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) confirming in a call with reporters on Tuesday that eight more cases had been identified in the state, bringing the total up to 12.
The strain, known as B 1.1.7., is feared to be up to 70 percent more transmissible and to spread more easily among children.
What’s more, a Minnesota case of the new variant indicates it may have been circulating in the U.S. far earlier than previously believed.
The positive sample comes from a patient that was taken on December 18 and uploaded to the global genomic database GISAID.
With other variants also confirmed in South Africa and Japan, many have criticized U.S. health agencies for failing to adequately detect and track new strains.
Additionally, health experts say the variants provide cause for the Trump administration to ramp up nationwide vaccination efforts, which have been lagging since the rollout started in December.
It comes as new interactive maps show how U.S. hospitals are overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, as the number of people admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) with the disease continues to increase.
New interactive maps show American hospitals are overwhelmed by COVID patients, as the number of people admitted to intensive care units with the virus continues to increase. This map from The COVID Tracking Project shows the percentage of hospital beds being occupied by those with the coronavirus
A second map, however, paints a more alarming picture. It shows that COVID patients are disproportionately taking up ICU beds in many hospitals nationwide
In some parts of California, it is not uncommon for almost all ICU beds to be occupied by coronavirus patients, creating a dire situation for other locals who arrived at the hospital in need of urgent treatment for car crashes and heart attacks
As of Monday, a whopping 129,748 Americans are currently hospitalized with the novel coronavirus, including tens of thousands in the ICU, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.
This marks the 41st consecutive day that there are more than 100,000 U.S. citizens in the hospital being treated for the virus.
It comes as the nation recorded 204,652 cases of COVID-19 and 1,731 deaths. As of Tuesday, more than 376,000 Americans have now died and more than 22.6 million have tested positive.
An analysis from DailyMail.coms shows that the U.S. recorded more than 200,000 new cases of the virus every single day for the past week.
The maps, created by The Tracking Project, break down the number of inpatients and ICU capacity at each hospital and shows hospitalizations are at their worst in California – where the number of people receiving inpatient care continues to skyrocket.
Presently, 22,633 residents of the Golden State people are hospitalized with confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19, according to the state’s department of health.
Of that number, nearly 22 percent are in the ICU.
One map, created by The COVID Tracking Project, shows the percentage of general hospital beds occupied by coronavirus patients across the country.
It reveals that highest percentage of COVID-related hospitalizations is in and around Los Angeles.
A total of 7,910 people are hospitalized in the city, county-level data reveals, taking up more than 45 percent of all general hospital beds.
In many other parts of the country, that number is significantly lower. In most hospitals in Florida and New York City, for instance, between 15 and 30 percent of beds are occupied by those with COVID-19.
A second map, however, paints a more alarming picture.
It shows that COVID patients are disproportionately taking up ICU beds in many hospitals nationwide.
In New York City, while less than 30 percent of general hospital beds are being taken up by COVID patients, more than 45 percent of ICU beds at most of those same medical facilities are occupied by those with the virus.
The map shows a similar situation taking place in parts of South Texas and in Phoenix, Arizona.
According to The COVID Tracking Project, hospitalizations and deaths in Phoenix are now exceeding the summer surge experienced there, and continue to grow each day.
At Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, residents were seen Monday setting up a field hospital in the parking lot
Three-quarters of the hospital’s ICU beds are taken up by COVID-19 patients, and there is only one available ICU bed left in the entire facility
In some parts of California, it is not uncommon for almost all ICU beds to be occupied by coronavirus patients, creating a dire situation for other locals who arrived at the hospital in need of urgent treatment for car crashes and heart attacks.
In Los Angeles, health officials are now urging locals to wear masks inside of their home to stop the spread because hospitals are so overwhelmed.
‘Right now, because there is so much spread, we’re recommending that people wear their face coverings on while they’re inside the home. It will add a layer of protection while we get through this surge,’ the city’s Public Health Director Dr Barbara Ferrer said Monday
Meanwhile, at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, just north of Los Angeles, officials were seen Monday setting up a field hospital in the parking lot.
Three-quarters of the hospital’s ICU beds are taken up by COVID-19 patients, and there is only one available ICU bed left in the entire facility.
On Monday it was reported that just 8.9 million Americans have received their first jab – far short of the 20 million people the federal government hoped to have vaccinated by the end of December 2020
A total of 25 million doses have been distributed and the Trump administration plans to recommend on Tuesday that all available vaccine doses be sent to states
Meanwhile, since the vaccination rollout process began last month, it has continued to lag.
According to CDC data, as of Monday morning, 8.9 million Americans have received their first job.
This figure is far short of the 20 million people the federal government hoped to have vaccinated by the end of December 2020.
It is also less than one-third of the 25 million doses that have been distributed to states by the federal government.
However, the Trump administration is planning to recommend giving a coronavirus vaccine to everyone above age 65 in the country in an attempt to speed up the rollout.
Axios reports that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is expected to announce the new guidelines at a briefing at noon EST on Tuesday.
Officials are also expected to recommend that shots be administered to American adults of all ages who have at least one pre-existing condition.
The HHS also plans to change another vaccination policy. Currently, 50 percent of the government’s supply are not distributed to ensure everyone receives a second dose.
However, vaccine doses will no longer be held and instead, all existing doses will be distributed with second doses to come off of future manufacturing lines.
The slow rollout has prompted some states, such as Michigan, to request purchasing their own vaccines from manufacturers like Pfizer itself in order to cut out the middleman and speed up the process.
Michigan Gov Gretchen Whitmer made the request in a letter on Monday to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, asking to directly buy 100,000 Pfizer doses from the pharmaceutical giant directly.
‘This direct purchase will fill a two week lag in supply and ensure that we can continue to ramp up our vaccination efforts across Michigan,’ she wrote.
‘It is also consistent with Operation Warp Speed’s commitment to deliver a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to Americans as quickly as possible.’
If approved, Whitmer says the additional vaccine doses would be distributed and administered per CDC guidelines.
The request comes a hospital systems across the state say they don’t have enough supply to get needles into arms.
It also coincides with Whitmer expanding vaccine eligibility to include residents aged 65 and older, police officers and other first responders and teachers.
The COVID-19 crisis shows no signs of abating, amid a disastrously slow rollout of vaccines across the country. Thousands of Americans are dying from the virus each day, while more than 200,000 have tested positive to the virus every single day during the past week