Shoppers were masks inside a grocery storeShare on Pinterest
More communities are reinstating mask policies as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise. Mario Tama/Getty Images
  • New COVID-19 hospitalizations plateaued this past week in the United States, but experts expect the numbers to remain high due to the number of Omicron-related cases.
  • The number of new COVID-19 cases rose this past week but not by as much as previous weeks.
  • The daily U.S. vaccination rate is at 1.1 million. Experts say elected and community leaders still need to continue promoting the benefits of vaccination.

Editor’s note: This story is updated regularly as new statistics are released.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations leveled off this past week in the United States as the increase in the number of new cases slowed.

Hospitalizations nationwide are now sitting at more than 135,000, about the same as it was late last week.

California has the most, with more than 13,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19. Texas is next with more than 11,800 hospitalizations, followed closely by New York with more than 11,700 hospitalizations.

A chart compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a projected steady increase in hospitalizations in the next few weeks, with anywhere from 17,000 to 48,000 additional hospitalizations by Feb. 4.

Information compiled by Becker’s Hospital Review shows 15 states with COVID-19 hospitalizations with more than 50 per 100,000 residents. Of those, five states have more than 60 hospitalizations per capita.

New Jersey tops the list with 69 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents. It’s followed by New York with 67 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents.

Delaware is next with 64 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents. Pennsylvania follows with 63 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, while Missouri has 61 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents.

Alaska has the lowest per capita rate with 15 COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents. Wyoming is the next lowest, with 18 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents. Vermont has 19 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents.

Here’s a look at the states with the highest per capita hospitalization rates and their percentage of fully vaccinated people:

StateHospitalizations per 100,000 residentsFull vaccination rate
New Jersey6972%
New York6773%
Source: COVID ActNow

There are concerns that the number of COVID-19 cases will keep the rate of hospitalizations high, even though the Omicron variant, while more contagious, seems to cause less severe disease.

“Our primary focus should be on preventing hospitalizations and deaths,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, told Healthline. “That is where the painful tragedies are, where the stress on the healthcare system is most severe, and also where the greatest financial costs are.”

Dr. Jamila Taylor, director of healthcare reform and a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, said that we should keep an eye on all the numbers until we get a better understanding of what’s happening.

“I think we should focus on the rise in cases, as well as on hospitalizations and deaths,” she told Healthline. “We don’t yet have a clear understanding of Omicron, and Delta is still rampant in the United States. I think this is part of the reason why we are seeing an increase in hospitalizations.”

In the midst of this latest surge, hospital officials across the country are reporting staffing shortages due to the increase in cases as well as the number of healthcare professionals who are sick.

“Our healthcare systems have been stretched thin throughout the pandemic,” Taylor said. “This is particularly true for high-need and low-resourced areas, namely the South and major urban areas. I think we will be in deep trouble if we see hospitalizations continue to rise. This is why mitigation, including wearing masks and increasing vaccination and boosters among all people who are eligible, is so critical.”

Overall, the United States has reported 67 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. Deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States have now surpassed 853,000.

According to CDC figures, the average number of new COVID-19 cases is sitting at about 700,000 per day, about 100,000 fewer than late last week.

The total number of new COVID-19 cases for the week that ended Jan. 16 was listed at more than 5.4 million, an increase of 9 percent from the previous week. There had been a 66 percent increase the week before that.

There are predictions that the Omicron surge will peak by late January. Experts say that’s possible, but we should remain vigilant.

“We have yet to receive more accurate numbers accounting for holiday travel and gatherings. Once we get through this, I think we will see the surge peak,” Taylor said.

“Because of all the holiday travel and mixing, the U.S. could well be in for a tough January with its healthcare system stressed further,” added Schaffner. “This is particularly concerning because influenza is starting its usual winter surge right now also.”

“The U.S. is a very large, diverse country,” Schaffner cautioned, “so I anticipate that our experience with Omicron will be more sustained than it was in South Africa, which experienced both a rapid rise and a rapid decline in cases.”

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he rate of transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 on a county-by-county basis as of Jan. 19. Source: CDC

There were 39 states that reported an increase in new COVID-19 cases for the week that ended Jan. 16. There were 49 states the previous week.

Oklahoma had the largest jump with a 157 percent increase to 73,796 cases. Colorado was next with a 90 percent hike to 114,311 cases, followed by Montana with a nearly 80 percent hike to 9,215 new cases.

In overall numbers, the CDC reports that California had the most new cases in the past 7 days with 852,582. Texas was second with 453,026. Florida was third with 347,697 new cases and New York fourth with 319,000 new cases this past week.

The CDC reports that Rhode Island is the leader per capita with 3,078 new cases per 100,000 residents. Wisconsin is next with 2,770 new cases per 100,000 people, followed by Delaware with 2,199 new cases per 100,000 residents, California with 2,157 new cases per 100,000 people, and Arkansas with 2,087 new cases per 100,000 residents.

Deaths attributed to COVID-19 for the past week were listed at 13,834, an increase of 16 percent from the previous week.

There were 34 states that reported an increase in deaths related to COVID-19 for the week that ended Jan. 16. There were 36 the previous week.

Alaska had the highest jump, with an increase of 250 percent to 7 deaths. Florida was next with a 155 percent hike to 470 deaths. Montana was third with a 154 percent jump to 28 deaths.

New York recorded the most COVID-19 deaths over the past 7 days with 1,435. Pennsylvania was next with 933 deaths, followed by Ohio with 850 deaths.

Tennessee had the highest death rate per capita with more than 8 deaths per 100,000 residents. This was followed by Indiana and Maryland with slightly fewer than 8 deaths per 100,000 residents.

The 7-day average of vaccine doses administered in the United States is slightly above 1.1 million.

The CDC reports there have been more than 529 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered across the United States.

More than 249 million people have received at least one dose, and nearly 209 million people are fully vaccinated.

The numbers now include the more than 81 million people who’ve received COVID-19 boosters since they were made available.

That means 75 percent of the total U.S. population has received at least one dose, and 87 percent of the country’s adult population has received at least one dose. About 95 percent of people ages 65 and older have received at least one dose.

Here are the top five states in terms of the percentage of the population that’s received at least one dose:

States with the highest percentage of vaccination (total population)
1. Massachusetts: 93%
2. Rhode Island: 92%
3. Vermont: 91%
4. Connecticut: 91%
5. Maine: 87%
Source: COVID Act Now

Taylor said she is concerned about the plateau in vaccinations nationwide.

“We continue to fall behind in vaccinations,” she said. “I am particularly concerned about the increase in children becoming seriously ill and hospitalized due to COVID-19. We need to better understand the decline in vaccination among eligible children and any challenges or hesitancy parents may be facing when it comes to this intervention.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did grant an emergency use authorization last week that allows children ages 12 to 15 to receive a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Schaffner agreed the vaccination of children is crucial.

“It is very important for children 5 to 11 years old to be vaccinated, both to protect themselves and to protect their communities,” Schaffner said. “We all know that children are less severely affected by COVID than are adults, particularly older adults. However, that does not mean that children remain unscathed.”

“Young children can be transmitters,” he added, “spreading the disease to older persons who can become seriously ill. All these are reasons for young children to be vaccinated. In addition, vaccinating youngsters can help make day care and schools safer for all.”

Taylor added it’s important to remind people that vaccines are keeping people from getting more serious disease.

“It is important that we continue to drive the message that the vaccines are working as intended,” she said. “They are protecting people from death and getting seriously ill due to COVID-19. In turn, they are also keeping people out of the hospital.”