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U.S. hospitalizations top 90,000 for the first time

More Americans than ever are in the hospital with the coronavirus. On Thanksgiving Day, hospitalizations hit a record high of more than 90,000 people, according to the COVID Tracking Project, and about 50 Americans are now dying every hour. 

More than 13 million Americans have now been infected with the virus — and it shows no signs of slowing down. Hospitals, already at the brink, are bracing for a new surge after 6.5 million people flew this holiday week. 

Thirty-two states are seeing increases in new daily cases, with Pennsylvania, Arkansas and Massachusetts breaking records. And the true case count could be much higher, considering an expected dip in positivity rates linked to a surge in pre-holiday testing. 

Houston Hospital Staff Works In COVID ICU On Thanksgiving
Dr. Joseph Varon hugs and comforts a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) during Thanksgiving at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 26, 2020 in Houston, Texas.  Go Nakamura / Getty Images

"A lot of people flooded into testing programs to get tested before they traveled for Thanksgiving," said Dr. Emily Landon of the University of Chicago Medical Center, adding, "But they do bring the positivity rates down by flooding the testing market with a number of low risk individuals."  

Landon advised those who learn that someone from their Thanksgiving gathering tested positive to quarantine, and warned that "there are so many cases right now that you will probably not hear from a contact tracer."

The CDC now says the real U.S. case count is likely eight times higher than previously thought, due to underreporting, false negatives and asymptomatic carriers who were never tested. 

The NFL's Baltimore Ravens are facing a serious outbreak that's testing the NFL's COVID-19 protocols. The team's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was postponed twice after 12 Ravens, including star quarterback Lamar Jackson, were put on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. 

On the vaccine front, the CDC committee focused on distributing vaccines announced that a vote at an emergency meeting on Tuesday would recommend who gets the vaccine first if one is approved by the FDA. 

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