The United States recorded 61,964 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Tuesday, breaking the previous one-day high from mid-April by more than 2,000.
The growing number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients across the U.S. is straining the capacity of numerous health facilities, especially in several western U.S. states. Some hospitals have erected tents in parking lots to handle the overflow of coronavirus patients, or have been forced to transfer them to other hospitals in other areas.
The U.S. leads the world with more than 10.1 million total COVID-19 cases, including 130,989 new cases reported on Tuesday, according to The COVID-19 Tracking Project. The U.S. reported more than 1 million new cases of COVID-19 in just the first 10 days of November, averaging more than 110,000 new cases a day.
As the pandemic worsens across the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revised its guidance on the use of face masks. The federal health agency said Tuesday that wearing a mask not only protects other people, but the person wearing the mask.
The CDC cited several studies confirming that “universal masking” use helped control the spread of the virus, including one involving two hair stylists who wore masks while suffering from COVID-19 symptoms. The study found that the stylists had not transmitted the virus to 67 customers who were later contacted by contract tracers.
Middle East surge
Elsewhere in the world, Iran and Lebanon have joined the growing list of nations who have imposed new restrictions to blunt an ever-growing surge of COVID-19 infections that are pushing hospitals in each nation to the breaking point.
Iran has ordered all restaurants and non-essential businesses in Tehran and other major cities to close at 6 p.m. local time for one month. In Lebanon, Prime Minister Hassan Diab has announced a one-month lockdown that will begin on Saturday.
Iran has more than 700,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 10,339 on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, while Lebanon has 96,907 confirmed cases, including 749 deaths.
No longer Corona-free
Meanwhile, the Pacific nation of Vanuatu has announced its first-ever confirmed COVID-19 infection, ending its status as one of the few places in the world that had been coronavirus-free.
Health authorities say the case involves a 23-year-old native of Vanuatu who had returned home from the United States last week, via stops in Sydney and Auckland, and was placed into quarantine. The man was asymptomatic when he returned, but tested positive on Tuesday.
COVID travel 'bubble'
Hong Kong and Singapore have announced plans to start an air travel “bubble” later this month that would allow travelers from each city to visit the other without entering quarantine. Beginning November 22, visitors must have a negative virus test at every stage of the journey.
The two cities say the flights will be limited to one flight per day into each city, with just 200 passengers per flight, with the goal of increasing to two flights a day beginning December 7. The bubble will be suspended if either city experiences a surge of infections.