The daily COVID death toll in the US is now approaching China's official death toll from the entire pandemic. According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, a staggering 4,085 coronavirus deaths were recorded Thursday, the first time the daily toll has topped 4,000. China's official toll is 4,788 since the pandemic began there more than a year ago. The Thursday figure marks the third day in the row that the US has set a new record for COVID deaths and is the highest daily death toll recorded in any country, the Guardian reports. Another 274,703 US infections were reported Thursday.
Hospitalization figures are also extremely high, especially in California, where the Department of Public Health said Thursday that almost 23,000 COVID patients had been hospitalized, CNN reports. In hard-hit Los Angeles County, patients are dying at a rate of one every eight minutes. "This is a health crisis of epic proportions," Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director, said in a statement. "I am more troubled than ever before, and in part, my concern is rooted in the reality that it will take so much more for us to slow the spread given the high rate of community spread." The Los Angeles Times reports that more than 2 million vaccine doses have been shipped to the state, and authorities plan to expand the group of people eligible for vaccination to make sure no doses are wasted. (Read more coronavirus stories.)