Covid’s stubborn rush points to bleak winter

“This takes every waking moment,” Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical officer of the Michigan Department of Health, told POLITICO. “No part of the country has survived.”

States across the country are also seeing an increasing number of people with hospital breaks eventually. In Michigan, for example, 28 percent of hospitalizations and 24 percent of deaths, between October 7 and November 5, were among fully vaccinated individuals.

The latest wave of Covid is of particular concern to health officials because holiday travel is expected to exacerbate the problem as it did last year when Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings fueled a record number of new infections and led to more than 100,000 deaths in January.

There was hope that this year would be different. In addition to vaccines, there are effective treatments, such as monoclonal antibodies, that can significantly reduce the chance of hospitalization and death.

However, as of Sunday evening, the country averages more than 1,100 deaths per day – roughly the same number as last year at this time before vaccines were approved. This is partly because millions of Americans remain unvaccinated and because the delta variant is more transmissible than the version of the virus circulating at the time.

“I think we’re going to have more deaths than we’re currently seeing,” said Eric Toner, a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “People need to be careful about traveling and meeting up.”

The danger to health systems across the country is growing because influenza and RSV, two other seasonal respiratory viruses that can land people in the hospital, are also on the rise — adding pressure to an understaffed health care workforce. And it is experiencing unprecedented turnover after 20 months of fighting the pandemic.

Making matters worse, the The CDC said last week Flu season may be coming, with the recent surge in infections noted, especially among college students.

Hospitalizations and rising deaths linked to Covid remain primarily among the unvaccinated, but even places with the highest immunization rates are seeing a rise in cases.

Montgomery County, Maryland, where nearly 80 percent of residents have been vaccinated, reinstated its indoor mask mandate Saturday Because of A significant increase in cases.

Vermont, where nearly three-quarters of its residents have been vaccinated, has seen a 50 percent rise in new infections and hospitalizations near an all-time high.

The Department of Defense is sending medical staff to relieve the pressure on hospitals in Minnesota where only a few intensive care beds are available, even though 70 percent of eligible residents have been vaccinated.

There are still many enclaves in the country where less than half of the population is vaccinated.

“It was December when things started to speed up,” said Ryan Westergaard, Wisconsin’s chief medical officer, during a press conference on Wednesday. “The trend we are seeing is very worrying. The slope of the curve looks similar to what we saw last fall.”

Many public health experts maintain that vaccines and treatments will prevent the country from revisiting the days that saw 3,000 deaths and 250,000 new infections, but significant increases in largely preventable deaths is a scenario that remains largely unanswered.

“People don’t realize how dangerous it is to pass the virus on to an at-risk family member,” said David Rubin, MD, a pediatrician and director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “I don’t think there is a sense that anyone is hindering this Thanksgiving. If people were smart, they would isolate themselves if they lived in a place with high transmission.”

Robin has been monitoring Covid patterns since the start of the pandemic, and he suspects increases in cities like Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Minneapolis are a harbinger for Boston, New York and Philadelphia.

“We can’t afford, literally because life depends on it, to allow this epidemic to subside in people’s minds when it’s not in our beds in hospitals, in our morgues,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told POLITICO.

The recent surge in cases was the reason the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Friday recommended booster injections of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 for all adults. This allows the remaining 30 to 40 percent of adults who are not eligible to receive reinforcements.

Several governors from both parties – citing the growing prevalence in their states – Didn’t bother to wait For the federal government, every resident urged to get a booster dose.

But uptake has been slow, even among older adults who are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19.

There are eight states — including large states like New York and Pennsylvania — where less than a third of seniors have received the boost, according to the CDC, and only Vermont has more than a quarter of its total. Population increase.

This is particularly worrisome for public health officials ahead of Thanksgiving, when college students are ready to visit their grandparents and people with underlying conditions see friends and family.

That is why there is such urgency behind the state and federal consolidation campaign.

“Without these tools, things wouldn’t look so rosy,” Baghdasarian said.

Shia Nightmare contributed to this report.

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