One American is dying of coronavirus every 30 seconds as the US reaches its highest ever daily death rate since the start of the pandemic, terrifying figures have revealed.
On Wednesday, The US Sun reported there were a record 2885 Covid-related deaths, more than 100,000 patients hospitalised with the virus across the country and 200,000 new cases.
The record-breaking day reveals the grim toll as the US struggles under the weight of the Covid-19 pandemic, with ICU beds across the nation reaching capacity.
According to the New York Times, Wednesday's coronavirus deaths passed the previous single-day high of 2752 on April 5.
With 2885 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, that worked out to be one person dying every 30 seconds in the US, a Times reporter pointed out.
As of Wednesday, more than 273,000 Americans had died from the virus since the start of the pandemic, as total US Covid-19 cases near 14 million.
US outbreak enters worst phase
Winter is looking bleak for the United States, where the coronavirus outbreak is worse than ever and 150,000 more people could perish by February.
Federal officials on Wednesday offered a look into the bleak winter expected from the pandemic, predicting a death toll of nearly 450,000 Americans by the start of February with 100 million possibly vaccinated by the end of the same month.
"The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times," Robert Redfield, the director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a virtual conference.
"I actually believe they're going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation."
The death rate is back to where it was in the northern hemisphere spring, far exceeding 2000 a day and bringing the total to more than 273,000, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University.
Despite medical advances that have allowed doctors to treat the disease better and meant more patients can stay at home, there are far more people in hospital than during earlier peaks. The figure is currently 100,000 people, according to the Covid Tracking Project, compared to 60,000 in April and July.
And unlike when the virus first entered the US and was confined to certain hotspots, it's now everywhere.
Dashboards that track infections show almost the entire map of the United States lit up in red, indicating the situation is critical.
According to an average of predictive models compiled by the CDC, the country should cross 300,000 deaths before the end of the year.
But even that number hides the reality: when including deaths that were misdiagnosed or caused indirectly, the figure of 300,000 was passed in October.
'Stay in homes now'
Meanwhile, Los Angeles residents have been told to "stay in homes now" as the city's mayor banned travel and shut non-essential businesses due to Covid.
Mayor Eric Garcetti warned on Wednesday the city was nearing "a devastating tipping point" and ordered residents to stay in their homes and avoid social gatherings in new lockdown measures to rein in a surge in Covid infections.
"It's time to cancel everything," Garcetti said during the press briefing.
His order limits nearly all social gatherings of people from more than a single household, mirroring a directive by county health officials last week, but exempts religious services and protests protected by the constitution.
"My message couldn't be simpler. It's time to hunker down. It's time to cancel everything. And if it isn't essential, don't do it," the mayor added.
"Don't meet up with others outside your household. Don't host a gathering. Don't attend a gathering.
"Our city is now close to a devastating tipping point, beyond which the number of hospitalised patients would start to overwhelm our hospital system, in turn risking needless suffering and death," the mayor said.
Los Angeles is the second-largest city in the US and has a population of more than 3.9 million.
Los Angeles county, which is home to the city, has recorded 414,185 infections and a death toll of 7740, according to LA Public Health.
Coronavirus was branded a "natural disaster in all 50 states" on Monday by physician Dr Megan Ranney, while top infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci warned Thanksgiving may spark a turbo-surge in cases.
"There's no way that the hospitals can be fully prepared for what we're currently facing," Ranney said.
"This is like a natural disaster occurring in all 50 states at the same time. There are not adequate beds. There are no adequate staff. And because of the lack of national preparation, there are still no adequate supplies."
- additional reporting news.com.au