Jan. 8, 2021 -- The United States reported 4,033 coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday, the most deaths in a single day since the pandemic began last winter.

It is the first time the nation has gone over 4,000 deaths in a single day, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Even as the government proceeds with its vaccination program, the U.S. has reported five of its deadliest days in the last 2 weeks.

Overall, the U.S. has reported more than 365,000 COVID-related deaths -- by far the most in the world. The CDC is now forecasting between 405,000 and 438,000 people will die of COVID-19 by the end of January. A previous forecast from Dec. 30 predicted 424,000 deaths by Jan. 23.

In an interview on NPR, Anthony Fauci, MD, said the deadly trend is likely to continue.

“As we get into the next couple of weeks in January, that likely will be a reflection of the holiday season travel and the congregate settings that usually take place socially during that period of time,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “We've seen following most events that require travel and ... have people, you know, understandably getting together in a social setting. So we believe things will get worse as we get into January.”

Bloggers for the COVID Tracking Project have said the holidays disrupted data reporting and that hospitalizations would be the most reliable reflection of how severe the pandemic is. Those numbers are also grim.

“There are now more than 132,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States: more than were hospitalized at the peak of the spring and summer surges combined,” the bloggers said. “These record hospitalization levels are not evenly distributed: As hospitalizations in the Midwest and Mountain West have continued to fall, they have risen in California and across the entire U.S. South.”

California remains a hot spot, with Los Angeles County reporting a COVID death every 10 minutes.

Hospital space is still scarce, with the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California reporting 0% capacity in intensive care units, according to California Public Health. Overall, the state has reported 2.5 million cases and more than 28,000 deaths.

In Arizona, 670 people per million are hospitalized with COVID-19, more than in any other state. Nevada has the second-highest per-capita hospitalization rate, followed by Alabama, the bloggers said.

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

CDC: “COVID-19 Forecasts: Deaths.”

NPR: “Fauci Says U.S. Needs More Time To 'Catch Up' On Vaccine Rollout.”

COVID Tracking Project: “Record Hospitalizations Point to Trouble in California and the South: This Week in COVID-19 Data, Jan 6.”

California Public Health: “State Issues Recommendations to Local Health Departments and Providers to Accelerate Safe Vaccine Administration Statewide.”

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.