Carrie Feibel

The omicron-driven surge has sent COVID-19 hospitalizations skyrocketing across the U.S., reaching a new pandemic high this week with 145,982 patients hospitalized.

This exceeds the previous high recorded in January last year, according to data tracked by the Department of Health and Human Services, from more than 5,400 hospitals in the country.

Counting the dead is one of the first, somber steps in reckoning with an event of enormous tragic scope, be that war, natural disaster or a pandemic.

This dark but necessary arithmetic has become all too routine during the COVID-19 outbreak.

January was the deadliest month so far in the U.S.; the virus killed more than 95,458 Americans.

Hospitals in much of the country are trying to cope with unprecedented numbers of COVID-19 patients. As of Sunday, 93,238 were hospitalized, an alarming record that far exceeds the two previous peaks in April and July, of just under 60,000 inpatients.

Nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism have brought tens of thousands of Americans into tense and sometimes violent encounters with law enforcement. Many police departments are using crowd-control tactics like barriers, curfews and surveillance and riot-control weapons such as tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bangs.

The coronavirus continues to batter the U.S. health care workforce.

More than 60,000 health care workers have been infected, and close to 300 have died from COVID-19, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A fifth U.S. case of coronavirus has been confirmed, this one in Arizona's Maricopa County. A statement released on Sunday from the Arizona Department of Health Services described the patient as "a member of the Arizona State University community who does not live in university housing."