Covid becomes NUMBER ONE killer in US this week as record 2,879 die in a day and 8.5m in Bay Area to go into lockdown

CORONAVIRUS became the number one killer in the US this week – overtaking heart disease for the first time – as a record 2,879 people died from the virus in a single day on Thursday.

The harrowing death toll comes as 8.5million in the Bay Area of California are heading into lockdown.

As one American is dying from the virus nearly every 30 seconds, Neurosurgeon and Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said that Covid has become the number one killer in the US – over heart disease and cancer.

CNN Anchor Alisyn Camerota asked Gupta on-air on Friday about the climbing death toll, as thousands of Americans are dying each day from Covid-19.

Gupta called the figures "disheartening."

"If you look at average – cardiac deaths, cardiac disease still has been the number one killer in the United States, around 600,000, men and women alike, die of heart disease every year," Gupta said.

He added that this breaks down to around 10,000 to 11,000 Americans dying of heart-related issues each week.

"What we know now, that this past week at least, COVID surpassed that weekly average of cardiac deaths in this country," Gupta said.

"So as things stand right now, COVID is the number one cause of death this week. Who knows how that's going to go.

"We know that cardiac deaths as a whole have been coming down between over the last few years, whereas we know for the next few months, probably, COVID deaths, next couple months, COVID deaths will continue to go up," he added.

The US saw its highest single-day death toll on Thursday, with 2,879 more Americans succumbing to the virus, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

More than 278,000 Americans have died in the coronavirus pandemic.

In another record, the US confirmed 217,664 new cases of the virus on Friday.

The total number of Covid-19 cases continues to climb past 14.3million.

With US hospitals being crippled under the weight of the pandemic, California is implementing stay-at-home orders for parts of the state where ICU bed capacity falls below 15 per cent, Democratic Gov Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday.

In a proactive move on Friday, however, officials in San Francisco's Bay area announced a stay-at-home order, locking down outdoor dining, entertainment centers, and personal care services, Bloomberg reported.

This means another 8.5million Californians are going under a stay-at-home order – just days after 10million in Los Angeles were told to lock down.

The Bay Area lockdown will be nearly a month long – lasting from December 6 to January 4.

“We have little choice but to act and to act now,” said Sara Cody, health officer for Santa Clara County.

She said the area "cannot wait until after we have driven off the cliff to pull the emergency [break]," The Daily Mail reported.

Despite the crackdown, retail stores will still be able to remain open at 20percent capacity, with outdoor gyms and fitness centers being capped at 12 people, Bloomberg reported.

This is a slightly looser lockdown then seen in the spring, when nearly all non-essential businesses were closed.

Experts have warned that cases are expected to continue rising in coming weeks, after millions traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In an interview with Newsweek, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci warned the worst of the pandemic is yet to come.

"January is going to be terrible," Fauci told the outlet.

"I think January is going to be terrible because you're going to have the Thanksgiving surge super-imposed upon the Christmas surge," he added.

"So it's entirely conceivable that January could be the worst."

As the US continues to be battered by the virus, there are hopes that a Covid vaccine will begin to ease the weight of the pandemic.

Pfizer and Moderna are both slated to have public hearings with the FDA in coming weeks, in an aim to get emergency use authorization for their respective vaccines.

If given the green light, the companies may be able to begin rolling out shots in a matter of days.

Officials have said, however, that they will have to ration who can get shots in early months – likely prioritizing healthcare and essential workers and those most at risk of serious illness.

As millions have said they would eagerly get in line for a vaccine, experts may be facing some difficulty in getting widespread herd immunity from a jab.

According to data from Pew Research Center, 39percent of Americans said they would not get a vaccine.

Just 29percent said they would definitely get a shot, while 31percent said they would probably get the jab.

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