In what proved to be the most deadly week of the pandemic so far, the U.S. averaged more than 2,000 reported deaths a day from COVID-19 between Nov. 29 and Dec. 6.
According to the COVID Tracking Project, the U.S. saw an average of 2,171 reported deaths every single day for the last week. Three of those days — Dec. 2 through Dec. 4 — the U.S. reported more than 2,500 deaths per day.
The 7-day rolling average of 2,171 reported deaths a day is now the highest it has ever been since the start of the pandemic, even dating back to April when Americans were dying as a result of the uncontrolled spread of the virus.
And while last week was bleak, all indications are that deaths will continue to rise in the weeks to come. The rate of infection in the U.S. exploded last week, jumping from an already-high 158,000 new cases a day to about 192,000 a day. That number is expected to continue climbing in the days ahead, as test results from those who contracted the virus at Thanksgiving gatherings continue to be processed.
The increased spread of infections comes at a concerning time, as a record 101,000 Americans are already in the hospital with COVID-19. Because virus hospitalizations typically lag behind confirmed infections, health experts worry that many more Americans will need to be hospitalized at a time when bed space is dwindling.
For instance, hospitals in Southern California currently have only about 15% of ICU bed space available. Passing that threshold triggered a new wave of restrictions in the region this weekend, like the closing of some non-essential businesses and advisories against in-person gatherings.
As of Monday morning, according to a Johns Hopkins database, the U.S. had seen 14.8 million COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic and 282,000 deaths.