As COVID-19 cases surge, some hospitals across the country are raising the alarm over hospitalization rates that may push facilities to capacity.
The number of people hospitalized with the virus in the U.S. has more than tripled over the past month, from an average of roughly 12,000 to almost 43,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The delta variant is ripping through the unvaccinated,” Mary Mayhew, CEO of Florida Hospital Association said. Hospitals in Jacksonville and Orlando last week crashed through their pandemic peaks, and hospitals in Miami-Dade County are at or approaching record coronavirus hospitalizations this week, Mayhew said.
In Texas, hospitals are bracing for another surge of the virus, as over 5,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations were reported on Thursday, up from 3,566 a week earlier, the Texas Tribune reported. In Houston, hospital emergency rooms are operating at or above capacity, with one hospital saying they’re treating patients in hallways and waiting rooms, according to ABC 13.
“Right now, if you’re not on death’s door with the most critical situation … very high likelihood you’ll have to wait in our waiting room,” the station quotes Harris Health System’s Matthew Schlueter.
Pediatric hospitals may face a crisis too as cases also increase among children, health officials warn. Dr. Lee Savio Beers, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said children’s hospitals in some areas of the country are filling up quickly. The Tennessee Department of Health projects the state’s children’s hospitals are on pace to be completely full by the end of next week.
For those 12 and up, vaccines continue to provide strong protection against hospitalization. In the nation’s most populous county, unvaccinated people have a risk of hospitalization that is now 19 times greater than vaccinated people, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Also in the news:
The U.S. is now averaging 100,000 new COVID-19 infections a day, returning to a milestone last seen during the winter surge.
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►U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas has tested positive for COVID-19, her office confirmed Friday. The congresswoman, who is vaccinated, said she had only mild symptoms and is isolating at home, where she was already recovering from outpatient surgery.
►As the delta variant throws a curveball in the world’s pandemic recovery plans, health experts say travel can be risky, forcing families to weigh the risks of summer travel with their unvaccinated children themselves.
►Starting Monday, Amazon will be requiring all of its 900,000 U.S. warehouse workers to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status, following in the steps of other retailers that have imposed mask mandates for employees.
►United Airlines and Frontier Airlines updated their employee vaccine policies Friday, joining a growing number of big corporations that are responding to a surge in virus cases. Both airlines are asking employees to be fully vaccinated by October.
►Norwegian Cruise Line asked a federal judge Friday to block Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “vaccine passport” ban, a Florida law prohibiting cruise companies from demanding that passengers show written proof of coronavirus vaccination before they board a ship.
► More than 11 million Californians who get their insurance through Medicaid will be offered a $50 incentive to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the state announced Friday.
►Students are asking the Supreme Court to block a plan by Indiana University to require that all students and faculty members be fully vaccinated in order to return to campus. It’s the first case where the Supreme Court is being asked to weigh in on vaccine mandates.
► The San Francisco sheriff deputies’ union said “a percentage” of the more than 160 employees it represents are rejecting getting the vaccine, and will quit or retire early if forced to do so. The city mandated that its employees working in jails and other high-risk settings are required to be vaccinated by Sept. 15 or risk losing their jobs.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has had more than 35.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 616,500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 201.9 million cases and 4.2 million deaths. More than 165.9 million Americans – 50% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: USA TODAY editor-in-chief Nicole Carroll’s brother is one of the many Americans who says he won’t get vaccinated. She asked him why, and wrote about the frank conversation they had on vaccine safety. Read the full story.
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Eric Wilson, 20, whose father recently died of COVID-19, receives a dose of the Moderna vaccine on Tuesday in the Rose E. McCoy Auditorium at Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss.
Study: Unvaccinated people are more vulnerable to COVID-19 reinfection
A new CDC study released Friday found that unvaccinated people who have had COVID-19 before are more than twice as likely to be reinfected with the virus compared to people who were fully vaccinated after initially contracting the virus.
The study included hundreds of Kentucky residents with previous COVID-19 infections from May through June 2021. It found that those who were unvaccinated were 2.34 times more likely to be reinfected compared with those who were fully vaccinated.