Hospitalizations related to Covid-19 are on the rise again in the United States.
Of the more than 30 states that have seen an increase in hospitalizations for Covid-19 in the past two weeks, six stand out.
Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois are responsible for the majority of the increase in the number of occupied hospital beds in the country, according to an NBC News analysis of US Department of Health and Human Services data.
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While these states represent 35% of the population among states with an increase in Covid hospitalizations, they represent 60% of the additional beds, the analysis showed.
The nationwide increase began in early November, when the United States averaged about 45,000 hospitalizations per day. It has since hit nearly 58,000 a day, according to the analysis. Health experts fear hospitalizations will continue to rise this winter as more Americans head indoors and the fast-growing delta variant continues to spread.
Since the HHS began tracking Covid hospitalizations in early 2020, the United States has crossed the 50,000 mark five times. Delta’s first wave of hospitalizations this summer peaked at more than 100,000 hospitalizations, on average, and last winter’s wave peaked at more than 137,000 hospitalizations, on average.
While much of the world focuses on the new omicron variant, first identified in South Africa, the delta is still a threat, as “more than 99% of cases sequenced in the United States continue to come from” of this strain, Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Tuesday during a briefing from the White House Covid-19 response team.
Hospitalizations in Michigan, which has the highest share of new hospitalizations after adjusting for population, is up 70 percent since Nov. 10. In neighboring Indiana and Illinois, hospitalizations have nearly doubled.
In Michigan, 3 of 4 Covid patients are not vaccinated, according to Chelsea Wuth, deputy head of public information at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Unvaccinated people represent 87% of Covid patients who are in a state intensive care unit, she said, and 88% of Covid patients who are on a ventilator are not vaccinated. More than 70% of Michiganders aged 16 and over have received at least one injection of the Covid vaccine, she said.
Dr Matthew Sims, physician and director of infectious disease research at Beaumont Health, the state’s largest healthcare system, said “nearly all” of the Covid patients who arrive are not vaccinated.
About 600 patients are sick with Covid systemwide on Tuesday, he said, noting that the staff were exhausted.
“We’ve been doing this for so long,” he said. “It becomes tiring for nurses, doctors, everyone when we see this huge number of patients all coming in and not getting vaccinated. “
He said the system’s network of hospitals and outpatient sites is prepared for a potential increase in patient numbers this winter; they gathered enough personal protective equipment and made vaccination against Covid compulsory for all staff.
It is still unclear whether the heavily mutated omicron variant will exacerbate the situation seen in hospitals during the colder months, experts say, although early reports suggest the new strain may cause milder symptoms.
Sims said he was concerned about omicron “and if it was going to get the upper hand and make it worse”. It’s fifty mutations “it’s scary,” he said, but added that scientists and the public have yet to wait for more data.
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In Ohio, the state with the second-highest share of new hospitalizations, health officials warned last week that the state was approaching the admissions record seen in January, when there were about 4,000 patients hospitalized with Covid statewide.
Dr Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health, told a news conference that cases do not occur uniformly across age groups.
Young people, especially those aged 23 to 49, have a case rate 25% higher than the state average, he said.
As in Michigan, the vast majority of hospital patients in Ohio are not vaccinated, Vanderhoff said.
State officials continue to urge people to get vaccinated. This would help state hospitals with staffing issues.
“Almost all hospitals really don’t have the elasticity that we maybe had at this time last year to really increase capacity in the short term when there is a flood or an increase in local patient numbers.” Dr. Andy Thomas, along with Wexner of Ohio State University Medical Center, said at the same briefing. “If these trends continue from December through January, we will be at a point where hospitals in Ohio cannot accommodate all of the patients we need to care for. ”
Last week in New York State, home to the fifth largest share of new hospitalizations, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that hospitals with less than 10% capacity must stop performing elective surgeries until the 15th. at least January 2020.
There are around 50 hospitals that meet these criteria, the vast majority of which are in the upstate, Hochul said at a press conference last Thursday.
Dr Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at NYU Langone Health in New York City, said people could be tired as the country approaches two years after the start of the pandemic.
People “think in terms of personal action, personal responsibility, personal freedom, and unfortunately this is not how viruses are transmitted and infected,” she said.
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