The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 in the United States rose to 138,073 Saturday amid the rapid spread of the omicron variant, coming close to the record set during the surge last winter.
The total includes 22,394 Covid-19 patients in intensive care units, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The number of Covid-19 hospitalizations is nearing the previous peak of 142,000 set on January 14 last year – a time when coronavirus vaccines were still in the early stages of distribution for adults.
New York has the highest number of hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, at 12,515, followed by California and Texas, which both have over 10,000 beds occupied by Covid-19 patients.
Other states that have more than 5,000 hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients include Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey and Georgia.
The U.S. reported nearly 1 million new cases of Covid-19 on Monday – the highest global single-day record of Covid-19 cases – and the seven-day moving average of cases is at over 614,000 as of Thursday, an all-time pandemic high.
The number of children hospitalized for Covid-19 has also risen to record levels, with an average of 824 children admitted to hospitals each day between December 31 and January 6. The rise in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations among children prompted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to recommend booster shots for children between the ages of 12-17 this week.
Coronavirus cases caused by the omicron variant began to rise in the U.S. in December, with multiple states reporting record case counts including New York, New Jersey and Florida. The surge in omicron cases has disrupted businesses, causing staffing shortages that have led to thousands of cancelled flights, reduced municipal ambulance and garbage service and class cancellations across the country. Early research suggests the omicron variant is more transmissible than the delta variant, though it may have milder side effects.