Southern US states have been facing shortage of oxygen, as COVID-19 cases continue soaring. Hospitals in Florida, South Carolina, Texas and Louisiana are at risk of having to use their reserve supply or risk running out of oxygen imminently, CNN quotes state health officials and hospital consultants.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus has affected millions of Americans. Hospitalisations have been rising. And as the COVID-19 cases surge, the demand of oxygen supply keeps increasing. Hospitals cannot keep up the pace to meet those needs, Donna Cross, senior director of facilities and construction at a health care performance improvement company told CNN.

Also read: Oregon counties ask for trucks to hold bodies as COVID deaths spike

Earlier this week, SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell said that the shortage of liquid oxygen could possibly delay the launches of rockets. 

"We're actually going to be impacted this year with the lack of liquid oxygen for launch. But for anybody that has liquid oxygen to spare, you can send me an email," she was quoted as saying by space.com.

  Also read: Moderna shots suspended in Japan's Okinawa after contamination reports

Cross also highlighted that the hospitals are running down to about 10-20% of oxygen in a tank, which is a one- to two-day supply on hand, before they're getting backfilled. Normally the suppliers would let them get down to a refill level of 30-40% left in their tank, giving them a three- to five-day cushion of supply, as per the healthcare consultant. 

On Saturday, Florida reported 75 patients per 100,000 residents in hospitals with the virus, according to data from federal health officials and Johns Hopkins University. This was the highest in the country. 

  Also read: Fabricated, not credible: China slams US report on COVID-19 origins

"We're seeing the patients die faster with this (Delta) variant," said Dr Ahmed Elhaddad, who is the ICU medical director at Jupiter Medical Center.

"This round, we're seeing the younger patients 30, 40, 50-year-olds  and they're suffering. They're hungry for oxygen, and they're dying. Unfortunately, this round they're dying faster," he added, as per CNN reports.

Meanwhile, Louisiana hospitals already packed with patients from the latest coronavirus surge are now bracing for a powerful Category 4 hurricane, which is expected to crash ashore Sunday.