Peter Wells in New York
Coronavirus hospitalisations in the US south surpassed their summer peaks on Monday, highlighting the broad and concerning spread of the virus during the latest phase of the pandemic.
A record 102,148 people in the US were in hospital being treated for coronavirus, according to Covid Tracking Project data on Monday, up from 101,501 on Sunday.
Across southern states, hospitalisations climbed to 35,946 from 35,537 a day earlier. That edged past the region’s previous record of 35,850 on July 23, according to a Financial Times analysis of Covid Tracking Project data.
About 125m of the 330m people in the US live in the 16 states and the District of Columbia that make up the south, making it the most populous of the four broad geographic regions of the US as defined by the Census Bureau.
North Carolina (2,240) and Alabama (2,079) were the two southern states to report a record level of hospitalisations on Monday, but several others set new peaks within the past week.
Unlike the summer, a broader collection of states are propelling the record number for the region, while hospitalisations in Texas and Florida — which rank second and third in the US by population — are 19.3 per cent and 52.8 per cent below their summer peaks, according to FT analysis of Covid Tracking Project data.
Similarly, the spread of coronavirus through so-called “mountain” states like Colorado, Nevada and Arizona since the start of autumn helped the west region overall surpass its summer peak in late November.
Hospitalisations in the west hit a record 22,249 on Monday, with California, the most populous state in the US, on December 1 surpassing its previous high from July.
On Monday, US states reported a further 180,193 coronavirus cases, up from 177,801 on Sunday and compared to the single-day record last Friday of 224,831.
Over the past week, the US has added nearly 1.38m infections. If that were an individual country, it would displace Colombia as the place with the 10th highest number of cases for the entire pandemic, based on Johns Hopkins University data.
The US has averaged 197,882 cases a day over the past week, a record rate.
A further 1,347 deaths were attributed to Covid-19. That is up from Sunday’s tally of 1,146 that ended a five-day streak during which the US added more than 2,000 fatalities each day.
Although the US is yet to surpass its single-day record for deaths from July 12, the country’s seven day average now sits at a record 2,174.