The United States reached its historical minimum of hospitalizations for COVID since the beginning of the pandemic

The United States reached its historical minimum of hospitalizations for COVID since the beginning of the pandemic

The number of hospitalized coronavirus patients has dropped more than 90% in more than two months, with some hospitals going days without receiving a patient with the virus in intensive care.
The number of hospitalized coronavirus patients has dropped more than 90% in more than two months, with some hospitals going days without receiving a patient with the virus in intensive care.

The number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the United States has fallen to its lowest level since the pandemic began, offering much-needed relief to healthcare workers and patients following the outbreak of infections with the omicron variant.

The number of hospitalized coronavirus patients has dropped more than 90% in more than two months , with some hospitals going days without receiving a single COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit for the first time since the pandemic hit the United States. in 2020.

Freeing up beds is expected to help U.S. hospitals retain exhausted staff, treat non-COVID-19 patients more quickly and cut skyrocketing costs . Also, more family members can visit their loved ones. And doctors expect pediatric visits, annual checkups and cancer screenings to return to their usual level after a sharp decline.

“We should all be smiling that the number of people hospitalized right now with COVID, and people in intensive care units with COVID, is at this low point,” said Jason Salemi , an epidemiologist at the University of the South. from Florida.

However, he added, the nation “paid a very high price to get to this stage…Many people got sick and many died.”

Hospitalizations are now at their lowest point since the summer of 2020, when comprehensive national data first became available . Over the last week, the average number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States fell to 11,860, the lowest number since 2020 and a sharp drop from the peak of more than 145,000 recorded in mid-January. The previous low was 12,041 last June, before the delta variant spread.

This favorable trend is also seen in the number of patients in intensive care units, which has dropped to less than 2,000 , according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

“We’re starting to be able to take a breather,”said Dr. Jeffrey Weinstein, chief patient safety officer at the Kettering Health hospital system in western Ohio.

COVID-19 patients occupied 30% of Kettering Health’s nearly 1,600 hospital beds in January, Weinstein said. Kettering’s eight hospitals now average two to three COVID-19 admissions a day, and sometimes none.

Although Salemi agrees that now is a good time for the exhausted health system to take a breather, he cautions that the public health community must remain vigilant about the BA.2 subvariant of the omicron. It is driving increases in hospitalizations in Britain, and is now estimated to account for more than half of infections in the United States.

“We are probably underdetecting actual infections more now than at any other time during the pandemic ,” Salemi said.

Ben Oakley
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