The Atlantic

The Worst Week for Deaths Since the Pandemic Began

States reported 23,259 COVID-19 deaths this week, and the number of people hospitalized with the disease is still rising.  
Source: San Francisco Chronicle / Getty / The Atlantic

Editor’s Note: The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find the collection here.

Updated at 10:00 a.m. ET on January 15, 2021.

For 16 weeks, throughout the fall and then straight through the data disruptions around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, the number of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 has risen. On October 13, there were 36,000 people with COVID-19 in U.S. hospitals. Yesterday, on January 13, there were 130,000.

This week, after two weeks of holiday-muddled death data, the inevitable consequence of these rising hospitalizations arrived. States reported 23,259 COVID-19 deaths this week, 25 percent more than in any other week since the pandemic began. For scale, the COVID-19 deaths reported this week exceed the CDC's current estimate for flu-related deaths during the entire 2019–20 season.

4 bar charts showing weekly COVID-19 metrics for the US since March 12. Deaths were up over 25% this week, hitting a new record high.

Cases were up this week after stabilizing relatively quickly from holiday data disruptions.

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