U.S. sets new daily record of 4,000 coronavirus deaths

Los Angeles will stop treating patients who cannot be resuscitated

The Christmas holidays are triggering coronavirus cases in the United States. Authorities have confirmed a new peak in deaths due to covid-19 on Friday, with more than 4,000 deceased in one day, and it is the third consecutive day of record numbers. Last week's average was 2,750 deaths per day, the highest since the pandemic began.

The main responsible for the fight against the coronavirus in the country, Anthony Fauci, has warned that the U.S. is at a delicate moment: "We believe that things will get worse during the month of January", he said, and then asked that health measures be respected, such as the use of the face mask or maintaining social distance. Only in this way will it be possible to "stop this acceleration", Fauci recalled.

The expert in infectious diseases has linked the new peak of coronavirus with travelling and gatherings during the Christmas holidays. "Now is not the time to turn back", said the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The North American country is the most affected in the world by the pandemic in total numbers, with about 21.6 million cases and 365,317 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Despite the fact that the US has begun to distribute the vaccine, the authorities have received criticism for the delays that are occurring: by the end of the year only 20% of the expected number of people had been vaccinated, that is, 4.2 million of the 20 million expected. Fauci stated last week that there had been "a couple of technical problems, but this is understandable" given the large number of doses that have to be delivered in the United States.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention forecasts that the cumulative number of deaths will continue to rise through January, and projects that the number will reach between 405,000 and 438,000 deaths. It is because of this alarming situation that states are focusing efforts on widespread vaccine distribution. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has said that hospitals that can move to phase 2 vaccination would have to do so: "States not only can but would have to aggressively expand vaccination to other phases if current supply exceeds demand in phase 1A".

Saturated hospitals in Los Angeles

The situation is critical across the country, and especially in the second largest city in the U.S., which is on the verge of experiencing the collapse of health care systems due to the increase in cases. Los Angeles health officials have called on ambulance workers to stop bringing adult patients with little chance of survival to hospitals, given the lack of beds and staff.

The saturation of health care is exemplified by the long lines ambulances have to wait to unload patients at various city and county hospitals. In some cases, they have to wait several hours, causing delays throughout the emergency system. This is why the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency has made the decision to write off patients in a more sensitive state.

"Patients in traumatic full arrest who meet current Ref 814 criteria for determination of death shall not be resuscitated and shall be determined dead on scene and not transported", Marianne Gausche-Hill, the Agency's medical director, said. Ref 814 is the county's policy on the determination and declaration of death in a patient who has not been transported to the hospital.

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