Peter Wells in New York
The number of people currently hospitalised with coronavirus in the US surpassed its April peak on Tuesday as states reported a single-day record of more than 130,000 new cases.
The number of coronavirus hospitalisations jumped to 61,964, up from 59,275 on Monday, according to Covid Tracking Project data.
That cruised past the previous peak of 59,940 on April 15 when northeast states like New York and New Jersey were hit hard during the early stages of the pandemic and medical facilities struggled to cope with the rapid influx of patients.
Over the summer, when sunbelt states battled a surge in cases, nationwide hospitalisations peaked at just over 59,700 in late July.
Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Montana, Oregon, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wyoming and eight of the 12 states comprising the Midwest region on Tuesday reported their highest levels of hospitalisations of the pandemic, according to a Financial Times analysis of Covid Tracking Project data.
People wait in cars as they queue for drive-in Covid-19 testing in Milwaukee
That is two fewer than Sunday’s tally of 19, which marked the highest proportion of states with record hospitalisations since mid-April.
States collectively reported a record 130,989 cases on Tuesday, marking the seventh day in a row that cases have topped 100,000.
Over the past week, the US has added an average of 119,171 cases a day, compared to the 110,455 confirmed in Japan since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins data.
Illinois (12,623), Texas (11,211 new and historic cases) and Wisconsin (7,432 confirmed and probable cases) reported the largest single-day jumps in infections on Tuesday, according to an FT analysis of Covid Tracking Project data.
While a ramp-up in nationwide testing capacity may play some part in explaining the rising cases in the US, the upward trend in hospitalisations provide a counter argument to that claim. Death rates, which are generally lower than during the early stage of the pandemic, have also begun trending higher.
On Tuesday, authorities attributed a further 1,347 fatalities to Covid-19, up from 580 on Monday and compared with 1,529 on Tuesday last week. The seven-day average has risen to 1,018 fatalities a day, the highest since late August.