WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The number of coronavirus patients in US hospitals breached 100,000 on Thursday (Aug 26), the highest level in eight months, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, as a resurgence of Covid-19 spurred by the highly contagious Delta variant strains the nation's healthcare system.
US Covid-19 hospitalisations have more than doubled in the past month. Over the past week, more than 500 people with Covid-19 were admitted to hospitals each hour on average, according to data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The United States reached its all-time peak for hospitalisations on Jan 6 when there were 132,051 coronavirus-infected patients in hospital beds.
As the vaccination campaign rapidly expanded in early 2021, hospitalisations fell and hit a 2021 low of 13,843 on June 28.
However, Covid-19 admissions rose suddenly in July as the Delta variant became the dominant strain. The US South is the epicentre of the latest outbreak but hospitalisations are rising nationwide.
Florida has the highest number of Covid-19 hospitalised patients, followed by Texas and California, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
More than 95 per cent of intensive care beds are currently occupied in Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
The Delta variant, which is rapidly spreading among mostly the unvaccinated US population, has also sent a record number of children to hospital. There are currently over 2,000 confirmed and suspected paediatric Covid-19 hospitalisations, according to HHS.
Three states - California, Florida and Texas - amount to about 32 per cent of the total confirmed and suspected paediatric Covid-19 hospitalisations in the United States.
Children currently make up about 2.3 per cent of the nation's Covid-19 hospitalisations. Kids under 12 are not eligible to receive the vaccine.
The country is hoping for vaccine authorisation for younger children by autumn with the Pfizer vaccine.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said this week that the nation could get Covid-19 under control by early next year if vaccinations ramp up.
The United States has given at least one dose of vaccine to about 61 per cent of its population, according to the CDC.