As the number of people infected with the delta variant of the coronavirus is surging across the US, hospitals all across the country are overwhelmed with the number of hospitalizations. The services in hospitals are being pushed to limits.
The availability of ICU vacant beds in hospitals is reducing and as many as 5 states are nearly out of ICU beds. According to data released by the Department of Health and Human Services, the states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Texas, and Arkansas have less than 10% ICU beds out of their total bed capacities.
Hospitals Pushed To Limits Amidst A Rapid Surge In Covid-19 Cases In The Country
According to Carol Burrell at the Northeast Georgia Health Systems, hospitals are almost full and they are looking to add spaces in hallways, conference rooms, waiting for areas to treat Covid-19 patients. The emergency rooms and urgent care centers are witnessing the highest volume of Covid-19 patients than that seen in the entire duration of the pandemic.
The situation at hospitals in Kentucky is so bad that in the absence of beds in the ER or ICU, patients are being treated inside their cars.
Also, the situation is not just in the Southern states. The state of Idaho had only around 4 ICU beds available in the entire state. According to Gov. Brad Little of Idaho, the disturbing statistic is the almost all of those admitted to the hospitals with Covid-19 infection are unvaccinated individuals. In an interview yesterday, Mr. Little reported that the average age of hospitalized patients is only 43. Almost all had breathing issues and were able to breathe only with the help of machines.
As the number of hospitalizations, especially in the Southern states is rising, the resources at hospitals are also being stretched. Some hospitals are reporting shortages of oxygen as well. According to data released by CDC, the rate of hospitalization amongst those unvaccinated was 16 times higher than those who are vaccinated, highlighting the importance of getting vaccinated as early as possible.
According to Dr. Matthew F Daley at CDC, the situation that the US is witnessing is a result of failure to vaccinate a large part of the population. He stressed that the vaccines are doing their work and people need to get vaccinated quickly.
The rise in infections among children is especially worrying as the new school year is underway. As schools are re-opening for the new year, the risk of infection in classes has already put thousands of students back to quarantine. In Texas and Florida, where schools had started barely a fortnight back, students thousands of students and teachers are reporting positive for Covid-19 and putting many more others in contact into quarantine. Despite the legal battle regarding the mask mandates, these schools are now making it compulsory for students to be masked.
A new study has shown that the universal use of masks in schools can reduce the chances of getting an infection by at least 50%. The study also demonstrates how randomized biweekly tests in schools to isolate positive students/ teachers can cut down the risk of Covid-19 infections by a quarter.
Dr. Scot Gottlieb, the former commissioner at US-FDA said that we have to throw everything we can to minimize the number of cases among people, especially children.