The country’s two largest states broke the nationwide record for most new coronavirus infections reported in a single day on Wednesday, with California tallying 18,350 and Texas nearly 16,100 — around 3,000 and 1,000 cases more than their previous highs, respectively.
The new records come amid a trio of surging metrics: Infections, virus hospitalizations and deaths are all on the rise across the country. Wednesday was the 33rd consecutive day that the United States set a new record in its seven-day average of reported cases, according to data compiled and analyzed by The Washington Post. Nearly 90,000 people are in hospitals with covid-19, another record.
In California, as elsewhere, officials have already implemented new restrictions to slow virus spread, and they’re contemplating still more measures. In Los Angeles County, the most populous in the country, the health department warned last week of a new stay-at-home order that would allow only for essential travel and work. Officials have since backed off, the Los Angeles Times reported, and while new measures look increasingly likely, they won’t be as strict.
They include bans on gatherings of people who don’t live in the same household, except for outdoor church services and protests. Reductions are also planned in the occupancy levels of retail stores, grocery stores and libraries.
The county has also continued warning against holiday travel and large gatherings. On Wednesday, its Twitter page shared a video of intensive care units crowded with covid-19 patients and advised, “Don’t make this your home for the holidays.”
In Texas, the head of a Houston hospital also issued a dire warning.
“If we don’t do things right, America is going to see the darkest days in modern American medical history,” Joseph Varon, chief of staff of United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, told CNN.
Varon said his hospital is already full and he’s worked more than 250 days in a row.
California and Texas have recorded more infections than anywhere, partially because they are the country’s most populous states. Adjusted for population, California ranks among the 12 lowest states and territories in cases per capita. Texas is 27th, with about 300 more cases per capita than the countrywide average.
States in the Midwest and the Plains — places where fewer people live, but fierce outbreaks have fueled recent virus spikes — lead the country in cases per 100,000 residents.