The highly contagious Omicron variant has set off a delta strain across the US, but the ascent of an allegedly mild form of COVID-19 has so far done little to ease the burden on hospitals that have spread.
Rochelle Valensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday that the Omicron variant represents about 98% of cases. The number is based on data for the week ending January 8 and is a significant increase from just two weeks ago, when Omicron accounted for 71.3% of cases.
Professor David Wohl, from the Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North, said that the increased transmissibility of Omicron and that some people have made it to combat delta through vaccination and exposure, adapts to a “more mild” version of conditions. has made it. Carolina-Chapel Hill. But experts warn that for those who miss out on vaccinations or suffer from other health concerns, infection with any type of COVID-19 is a major concern. And without intervention, the data signal dark days for a health care system already stretched to its limits, he says.
In many parts of the US, the health care system is “collapsing under the weight of Covid patients”, said Professor Neil Sehgal from the University of Maryland School of Public Health. “I began to question whether this was the week the health care system would break down.”
The most recent CDC Nowcast data predicts that Omicron dominates caseloads in every region of the country. And while infections appear to be peaking in places that were quickly hit, such as New York City, most cities continue to see past records and hospitalizations of infections.
In Maryland, where Sehgal works, some hospitals have gone to crisis standards of care—meaning they’ve done some elective surgeries and redistributed staff. Hospitals in several other states, including Colorado and Oregon, have declared similar crises. Sehgal said on Tuesday the Maryland Hospital Association urged the public for better adherence to preventive measures such as masking and pushed for re-vaccination.
Some places are restoring safety protocols to ease the burden on local hospitals. As cases exploded in Utah last week, Salt Lake County Health Director Angela Dunn issued a county-wide mask mandate, taking the extra step of requiring respiratory-type masks like KN95s, KN90s or KF94s. The county said they would provide masks at no cost to those who need them.
Sehgal said it is important to preserve the capacity of the healthcare system.
“If we don’t act now and we don’t take decisive action, it will be too late,” Sehgal said. “Today’s cases are next week’s hospitalizations.”
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)