The level of Covid-19 hospitalisations in the US rose during November, ending a two-month run of declines following the country’s summer wave.
The increase in hospitalisations has been accompanied by a rise in daily new coronavirus infections and elevated deaths, which has stirred concerns about a fifth wave of the pandemic in the US heading into winter.
There were 58,067 patients in US hospitals with Covid-19 on November 30, according to a Financial Times analysis of data released on Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). That marked a 20 per cent increase from the end of October, which was the lowest level since the end of July, but comfortably below summer highs of more than 103,000 in late August.
In about three-fifths of US states, the seven-day average of hospitalisations is higher than it was at the end of October, according to an FT analysis of HHS data. Michigan and the northeastern states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont — where temperatures have cooled — reported their highest average levels of patients during November.
The US averaged about 82,500 new Covid-19 cases a day in the week ended November 30, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an increase of 16 per cent since the end of October.
Covid-related deaths have averaged 816, down from almost 1,200 a day at the end of October, but the latest figures may be lower due to reporting delays following the Thanksgiving long weekend.
More than 70 per cent of the US population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 59.4 per cent are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data on Wednesday. Almost 42m Americans have received their booster shots.
During a press briefing on Wednesday at the White House, Dr Anthony Fauci reiterated that about 80m Americans have not been vaccinated against Covid-19. He implored them to sign up for their shots as he and other top health officials revealed the first US case of the Omicron variant of coronavirus had been identified in California.