U.S. tops 19 mln cases of COVID-19

The United States has topped 19 million cases of Covid-19, as one of the country's worst hit states is set to extend its lockdown.

Hospitals across the country have been strained to the brink all month, and California has been hit the hardest.

Intensive care units in the state, now a major U.S. hotspot, are full to overflowing.

This past week California has been averaging 230 covid deaths a day.

Governor Gavin Newsom said restrictions on gatherings and business activities would almost certainly be renewed for another three weeks, as he warned things are likely to get worse after the holiday season:

"You need nothing more to example than the total number of passengers on airplanes nationwide that only suggests that we're going to see an increase in cases across this country, not just in the state of California as related to these travel advisories that were not heeded clearly by everybody."

For now, California residents are under some of the toughest restrictions in the U.S.

They're told to remain at home and avoid travel, except for grocery shopping, medical appointments, and daily exercise.

While, restaurants are limited to takeout and bars are closed altogether.

The country as a whole has reported 333,000 deaths since the pandemic began, and as of Sunday, 118,000 people were in U.S. hospitals with the disease.