An unprecedented spike in Covid-19 cases fueled by the omicron variant is overwhelming hospitals across the United States, with doctors describing overcrowded emergency rooms as health experts implore New Year’s Eve revelers to keep up. small, outdoor parties to help prevent an even worse surge.
“It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen, even at the peak of previous covid waves,” Washington-based Dr. James Phillips said Wednesday as the country hit a new pandemic high of 300,886 new daily cases. on average over the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
“What we are experiencing right now is an absolute overwhelming of emergency departments” in Washington, Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University Hospital.
It’s a scene that plays out across the country as record case counts are reported from New Jersey and New York to Arkansas and Chicago, where hospital bed capacity is also a concern. In Arizona and New Mexico, federal medical personnel have been deployed to support an increase in covid-19.
Apple closes all its New York stores for omicronAnd in Georgia, six major healthcare systems with recent jumps from 100% to 200% in COVID-19 hospitalizations, with the majority of patients unvaccinated, have come together to publicly urge people to seek coronavirus evidence elsewhere. places so your emergency rooms can focus on those with critical needs.
In Louisiana, COVID-19 hospitalizations have tripled in the past two weeks as a new record for cases was set, according to the state. Symptomatic patients have come to Our Lady of the Lake Baton Rouge Regional Medical Center for testing, said Medical Director Dr. Catherine O’Neal.
“We are seeing an increase in admissions that is surprising,” he told on Wednesday.
Many patients O’Neal sees are not vaccinated, he said. They often have a more serious illness with pneumonia and need to be intubated or need high-flow oxygen. Others who have not received a booster or are only partially vaccinated suffer from a kind of flu-like illness and are “fragile,” he said.
“They’re older, they have heart failure, they have COPD, and they can’t deal with covid, even when they’re vaccinated,” O’Neal said. “Fortunately, most of those people turn it over after a couple of days and go home, which is good.”
Nationwide, nearly 78% of ICU beds are in use, and 22% of those are occupied by COVID-19 patients, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
And pediatric hospital admissions for COVID-19 are the highest they have ever had during the course of the pandemic. On average, 378 children were admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 on any day of the week ending Dec. 28, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC) and the US Department of Health and Human Services.That is well above the previous record average of 342 admitted children seen in late August and early September.
The probability of getting infected if you have not been vaccinated
Unvaccinated people “are 17 times more likely” to be hospitalized for COVID-19, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday. About 62% of the total US population is fully vaccinated, and 33% of them have received a booster shot, CDC data shows.
“What I can tell you is that compared to people who get a booster, if they are not vaccinated, they are 10 times more likely to be a case and 20 times more likely to be a fatality,” he said in a covid briefing. -19 from the White House.
In fact, the number of lives claimed by the virus increased this week by about 18%, with an average of 1,546 deaths per day, according to the data. And more than 44,000 people could die from COVID-19 in the next four weeks, according to a joint forecast by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Wednesday.
This week there was some encouraging news. The increase in COVID-19 cases associated with the omicron variant could peak in the United States in late January, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNBC on Wednesday.
“It certainly peaked pretty quickly in South Africa, went up almost vertically and turned around very quickly,” he said. “I would imagine, given the size of our country, and the diversity of vaccination versus no vaccination, that it will probably be more than a couple of weeks, probably late January I think.”
New Year’s celebrations should be small, experts say
With the rise in COVID-19 cases, experts urge Americans to exercise caution as they celebrate the new year. Revelers should avoid big indoor New Year’s Eve parties, said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University.
“We are in the public health crisis of our life,” Reiner told on Thursday. And the New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City’s Times Square “should have been canceled,” in part because attendees could “fill the subway” to get there, he said. The event has been reduced, with fewer revelers and everyone must wear a mask.
The omicron variant “is extraordinarily contagious, and if you are in a crowd now, and certainly if you are not vaccinated, you are at great risk of contracting this virus,” Reiner told on Wednesday.
A small celebration at a friend’s house should be fine if everyone gets vaccinated, boosted and tests negative before the party, he said. Large outdoor parties are less risky unless they are packed with people.
“I would not eat in a restaurant now without a mask,” Reiner said Thursday. “Absolutely would not go into a bar.”
People should avoid big New Year’s Eve gatherings where they don’t know the vaccination status of the guests, Fauci said. Small gatherings of vaccinated family members or close friends are safe, he said.
“When you talk about a New Years Eve party, where there are 30, 40, 50 people celebrating, you don’t know the status of the vaccination; I strongly recommend that you stay away from that this year. There will be other years to do that, but not this one, “Fauci told Globe Live Media.