Covid-19 hospitalizations in US hit record high, HHS data shows

RN Akiko Gordon, left, and directory therapist Janssen Redondo, right, work inside the intensive care unit with a covid-19 positive patient at Martin Luther King Jr. (MLKCH) on Friday December 31, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images)

Covid-19 hospitalizations in the United States have reached a new record, surpassing the previous peak of January 2021, according to data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

There are currently 145,982 people hospitalized with Covid-19 – about twice as many as two weeks ago. There are nearly 24,000 intensive care unit beds in use for Covid-19 patients.

Hospitalizations reached a previous peak about a year ago, with more than 142,000 people hospitalized for Covid-19 on January 14, 2021. During the Delta outbreak in the summer, hospitalizations for Covid-19 have peaked at around 104,000 on September 1, 2021.

It has only been 23 days since the start of the pandemic that there have been more than 125,000 people hospitalized with Covid-19 at any given time, according to HHS data.

Pediatric hospitalizations have already far exceeded previous peaks – with nearly 5,000 children currently hospitalized with confirmed or suspected Covid-19. This is almost double the previous September peak during the delta surge.

There have been around 3.9 million total hospital admissions for Covid-19 since August 2020, and there have been around 18,600 new admissions each day during the first week of January 2022, according to the federal data.

According to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of hospitalization is eight times higher for unvaccinated people than for fully vaccinated people. It varies week to week, but during the last week of November, CDC data shows hospitalization rates were about 17 times higher for unvaccinated people than for fully vaccinated people.

Currently, Covid-19 hospitalization rates are highest in Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Ohio – each with more than 60 current Covid-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 people.

HHS data on Covid-19 hospitalizations includes both patients hospitalized with complications from Covid-19 and those who may have been admitted for something else but tested positive for Covid-19. This has been true throughout the pandemic, although the share of patients who fall into each category may have changed over time.

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