US witnesses winter COVID wave-like hospitalisation, owing to Delta variant
- The new cases are largely caused by the Delta variant of the coronavirus
- 1 in 5 ICUs in the US have reached or exceeded 95% of its beds' occupancy
- In some states hospitalisation rate has already reached a record high
The United States has been reporting a surge in ICU admissions in the past few weeks owing to newly emerging COVID-19 cases caused by a more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. According to the data from the Department of Health and Human Services, the number of hospitals with full ICUs doubled in the US in recent weeks.
Now, 1 in 5 US ICUs have reached or exceeded 95% of its beds' occupancy and the number of those who are critically ill, requiring treatment in an intensive care unit has risen as well. It is a level that health experts believe makes it tough for doctors and healthcare staff to care for very sick and will hamper the quality of medical treatment.
According to experts, such overwhelmed hospitals across the United States were last seen during the deadly winter wave of the coronavirus in 2020.
According to a New York Times report, in many states, hospital staff are witnessing winter COVID wave-like conditions, with increasing admissions, shortage and struggles to find beds and hospital employees working overtime, relying on contract nurses and emergency medical technicians.
The condition is such that outside some hospitals, officials are erecting large tents to house everyone.
As per the federal data, there were more than 300 patients hospitalised with COVID in the Jackson Memorial Hospital system in the week ending August 12, up from around 70 at the beginning of July.
Dr David De La Zerda, Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, who has spent a year treating COVID patients in the ICU told New York Times that the feeling that the crisis phase of the coronavirus pandemic is nearing its end lasted only for four weeks.
However, the experts agree that COVID vaccines have played a role in abating the intensity of the virus.
"This virus is becoming a more preventable disease than before, when this was all new, because now we know that there’s something that we can do," said Dr De La Zerda.
However, the number of COVID-related hospitalisation has already surpassed the level seen during last summer’s surge and continues to rise.
In some states, particularly in the South, the hospitalisation rate is approaching or has already reached a record high, reported NYT.
However, amid this upsetting trajectory, another cause of concern is rising breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated individuals. Although, the number of such infections is rare.
Recently, the US’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a booster shot, a third dose of the vaccine for people with severely weakened immune systems to protect them from the Delta variant.