US Covid-19 hospitalizations reach record high, HHS data shows

Lena Weib
Registered nurse Akiko Gordon, left, and Repertory Therapist Janssen Redondo, right, are working inside the ICU with a covid-19 positive patient at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital (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 high, surpassing the previous peak from January 2021, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

There are 145,982 people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 – about twice as many than 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 with Covid-19 on Jan. 14, 2021. During the Delta surge over the summer, Covid-19 hospitalizations peaked at about 104,000 on Sept. 1, 2021.

There have been only 23 days since the beginning of the pandemic that there have been more than 125,000 people hospitalized with Covid-19 at one time, HHS data shows.

Pediatric hospitalizations have already far surpassed previous peaks – with nearly 5,000 children currently hospitalized with confirmed or suspected Covid-19. That’s nearly double the previous peak from September during the Delta surge.

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

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

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

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

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