Medical Technology

COVID Cases Rise Even as US Hits 200M Vaccine Milestone

Editor’s note: Find the most recent COVID-19 news and instructions in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The number of Americans fully vaccination-free against COVID-19 hit 200 million on Wednesday amid a depressing increase in cases and hospitalizations that have impacted New England, one of the most highly inoculated corners of the country.

The number of new cases in the U.S. rose from nearly 95,000 per day on Nov. 22, to almost 119,000 per day during the week. Hospitalizations have increased 25 percent over a month prior. These increases are almost entirely due to the delta variant. However, the omicron mutation was discovered in about 20 states, and is likely to spread further.

Deaths are averaging close to 1,600 per day on average, back up to the levels they were in October. In just a few days, the death toll in the United States could rise to 800,000.

While the situation isn’t so dire this year as the holiday-season surge before the COVID-19 vaccine was available The 60% of the U.S. populace that are fully vaccinated is not enough to stop hot spots.

Alongside public fatigue and pandemic restrictions, the cold temperatures, Thanksgiving celebrations, and a large rebound in travel during the holidays are all believed to be contributing factors.

Lawrence Gostin at Georgetown University is the director of the WHO Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights. He compared the virus to a wildfire.

“You can clear a forest from the trees. Gostin stated that if you leave some trees and plants in a position to burn, the fire will discover them. “The virus will locate your host. It is looking for hosts that aren’t immune. You don’t have to be in New England or New York to be protected.

The demand for the vaccinerecently approved with boosters for all adults as well as shots for children in elementary school — has been high due to the increase in demand and the emergence of the omicron variant its dangers are not completely comprehended. Pfizer announced on Wednesday that its initial shots against omicron appear to be less effective, but booster doses could offer significant protection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 48 million people have received booster shots. Officials at the White House noted that the United States administered 12.5 Million shots this week, the most number of shots administered in a week since May.

Jeffrey Zients, White House coronavirus advisor, said that this was a significant step forward as we enter the winter and face the new Omicron variant.

At the same time, some states, notably in high-vaccinated New England, but also in the Midwest and the Midwest, are dealing with some of the worst outbreaks since the beginning of the pandemic. Hospitals are bursting at seams and responding by cancelling non-urgent procedures, or taking other emergency measures. States are encouraging boosters.

Despite having one of the highest rates of vaccination in the nation — over 74% of the population fully vaccinated — Vermont is facing the largest increase to date. In the last week, new cases per day are up 54 percent, while the number of patients in the hospital with COVID-19 has increased to 18%.

The virus is preying upon those who haven’t had their shots: As of Tuesday, 90% COVID-19 patients in intensive medical care were not vaccination-free.

“Obviously this isn’t the way we want to be,” Gov. Phil Scott said Tuesday, calling the situation “extremely troubling.”

More than 400 people were in the hospital with COVID-19 in New Hampshire at the start of the week, breaking the previous record set in winter.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has directed hospitals in New Hampshire to create COVID-19 “surge centres” that would use space normally reserved by outpatient care.

“Every day over the next several weeks, we’re likely to see a new high in COVID hospitalizations in New Hampshire,” said Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association. “With more than 1,000 new cases a day, this number isn’t going to do anything but increase.”

Maine is also struggling with record-breaking hospitalizations for COVID-19. Gov. Janet Mills on Wednesday activated as many as 75 members of the National Guard to help out.

“The majority of patients in our hospitals are unvaccinated. This is especially true for critical care patients,” said Andy Mueller, CEO of MainHealth, the state’s biggest health system. “It requires a tremendous amount of our resources to offer medical care.”

Lifespan the largest hospital, has stated that staff shortages are at unprecedented crisis levels. Kent Hospital, however, stated that it is near capacity and is considering delay of urgent procedures.

Dr. Paari Gopalakrishnan is Kent’s interim chief operating officer and president. He stated that the increase in crime could be due to “people letting down their guards” during the holiday season. Flu season could make things more complicated.

New Hampshire will hold a “booster Blitz” at 15 locations on Saturday. Most appointments were booked.

In Berlin, Vermont, Mike Labounty received his booster on Tuesday.

“I have friends who are in their 20s and are getting sick and friends who are 60 and sick,” he said. “It’s the message you see on Facebook or stuff like that: ‘I just want it to stop. I’m sick, so I’m just trying to avoid this.”

In other parts of the nation, Indiana has seen COVID-19 hospital admissions increase by a third in the last month , and is now at levels not seen since the same time a year ago before vaccines became widely available.

Minnesota’s ICU beds are occupied for 98 percent of the time which makes it the most populous state for intensive medical care since the pandemic. New Mexico and Michigan have received teams of military medical personnel.

Associated Press writers Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire; Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine; and Wilson Ring and Lisa Rathke in Montpelier, Vermont, contributed to this report. Tareen reported in Chicago.

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