A surge in COVID-19 cases across the US has led to some hospitals raising the alarm over growing hospitalization rates. Health experts are warning that these cases may push hospital facilities to capacity.
In the past month, the number of people who have been hospitalized with the virus in the US has tripled. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospitalization rates increased from an average of 12,000 to approximately 43,000 over the past month. In particular, hospitals in Orlando and Jacksonville, FL are approaching record hospitalizations this week. “The delta variant is ripping through the unvaccinated,” said Mary Mayhew, CEO of Florida Hospital Association.
“These are ghastly ill patients just constantly coming in, they’re emergent,” said Lauren Anderson, an emergency room nurse at Halifax Medical Centre. “It’s like Pandora’s box when a patient comes in. We just always assume everybody’s got COVID, so they’re all in isolation.”
The Texas Tribune also reported that hospitals within Texas are bracing for another COVID-19 surge, with over 5,000 COVID-19 hospitalisations recorded last Thursday. Furthermore, Houston hospitals have resorted to treating patients in hallways and waiting rooms, as emergency rooms operate at capacity. “Right now, if you’re not on death’s door with the most critical situation, there is a very high likelihood you’ll have to wait in our waiting room,” said Matthew Schlueter of Harris Health System.
According to Public Health experts, people who are unvaccinated now have a risk of hospitalization that is 19 times higher than vaccinated people. For children aged 12 and over, vaccines are proving to provide strong protection against hospitalization. However, paediatric hospitals may also face a crisis as cases are beginning to increase amongst unvaccinated children.
The U.S. is currently reporting 100,000 new COVID-19 cases on average every day. This is a milestone that was similar to what was seen during the winter surge of 2020.