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Peter Wells in New York

Coronavirus hospital stays in the southern US passed their summer peaks on Monday, highlighting the widespread and worrying spread of the virus in the final phase of the pandemic.

According to the Covid Tracking Project, there were 102,148 hospitalized people in the United States treated for coronavirus on Monday, up from 101,501 on Sunday.

In all southern states, hospital stays increased from 35,537 the day before to 35,946. According to a Financial Times analysis of data from the Covid Tracking Project, on July 23, that figure was above the region's previous record of 35,850.

Approximately 125 million of the 330 million people in the United States live in the 16 states and the District of Columbia that make up the south. This makes it the most populous of the four geographic regions of the United States defined by the Census Bureau.

North Carolina (2,240) and Alabama (2,079) were the two southern states to see record levels of hospitalizations on Monday, but several others hit new highs over the past week.

In contrast to summer, a wider collection of states is driving the record high for the region, while hospitalizations in Texas and Florida – which rank second and third in the US by population – are 19.3 percent and 52.8 percent below their summer peaks, respectively for FT analysis of Covid tracking project data.

Similarly, the spread of the coronavirus in so-called "mountain" states like Colorado, Nevada and Arizona since the beginning of the fall has helped the western region hit its summer peak overall in late November.

Hospital stays in the West hit a record 22,249 on Monday, with California, the most populous state in the United States, beating its previous July high on December 1.

On Monday, the U.S. states reported an additional 180,193 coronavirus cases, up from 177,801 on Sunday, compared to last Friday's record of 224,831.

In the past week, the US added nearly 1.38 million infections. If this were a single country, it would oust Colombia as the place with the 10th highest number of cases for the entire pandemic, based on data from Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. has averaged 197,882 cases per day for the past week, a record rate.

Another 1,347 deaths have been attributed to Covid-19. That's more than Sunday's 1,146 record, which ended a five-day streak in which the US claimed more than 2,000 deaths each day.

While the U.S. hasn't broken its one-day record for deaths as of July 12, the country's seven-day average now stands at a record of 2,174.