Throughout the U.S., hospitals and health care workers are tracking the skyrocketing number of new coronavirus cases in their communities and bracing for a flood of patients to come in the wake of those infections. Already, seriously ill COVID-19 patients are starting to fill up hospital beds at unsustainable rates.
U.S. hospitalizations overall have nearly doubled since late September. As of Monday more than 56,000 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized around the country, approaching the highs of the midsummer and spring surges. "We have legitimate reason to be very, very concerned about our health system at a national level," says Lauren Sauer, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University who studies hospital surge capacity.
The spring and summer waves of COVID-19 hospitalizations were concentrated largely in a handful of cities in the Northeast and parts of the South.