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U.S. tops 4,000 coronavirus deaths in one day for the first time

COVID-19 daily deaths top 4,000 for first time
COVID-19 ravages nation as daily deaths top 4,000 for first time 02:11

The U.S. has topped 4,000 daily deaths from the coronavirus for the first time, breaking a record set just one day earlier. The tally from Johns Hopkins University shows the U.S. had 4,085 deaths from COVID-19 Thursday.

The U.S. had nearly 275,000 new coronavirus cases as well. More than 365,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus since the pandemic began.

The numbers are another reminder of the worsening situation following travel for holidays and family gatherings, along with more time indoors during the winter months. There's been a surge in cases and deaths in Arizona, Texas and Florida and California, where some hospitals are on the verge of rationing care.

APTOPIX Virus Outbreak California
Two nurses put a ventilator on a patient in a COVID-19 unit at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif. Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.  Jae C. Hong / AP

A Los Angeles County hospital is so overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients that it has now assembled a triage team that would ultimately decide the fate of those critically ill. 

"The hospital system is bent as far as it can bend and the next sound may be a snap," said Cliff Daniels, chief strategy officer at Methodist Hospital of Southern California. 

"It is the unimaginable decisions that would have to be made to deny care to people who need it because there's not the resources available," he said. "We have not reached that stage. We're on a pace to get there."

Some hospitals are so packed patients are being sent hundreds of miles away for treatment. 

The state's Emergency Medical Services set up an oxygen depot in Riverside County to help with the increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients, according to CBS Los Angeles. The oxygen depot, which is made up of two large oxygen generators that will fill large tanks used by hospitals, will augment the local oxygen supply. 

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