Even if the U.S. reaches a vaccine milestone, COVID cases will surge
The cold weather, the sharp rebound of Thanksgiving gatherings and holiday travel, and the public’s weary of epidemic restrictions are all cited as reasons.
Lawrence Gostin, director of the WHO Center for Public Health Law and Human Rights Cooperation at Georgetown University, likened the virus to a wildfire.
“You can clear a bush. But if you leave some bushes and trees, the fire will find them,” Gostin said. “The virus will find you. It is looking for a host that is not immune. The fact that you live in New England or New York does not insulate you.”
With the proliferation and emergence of variants of omicron, the demand for this vaccine has been high-all adult boosters and injections for elementary school students have recently been approved, and the dangers are still not fully understood.On Wednesday, Pfizer said that the first two shots of its vaccine appeared to be significantly less effective Against omicron But a booster dose may provide important protection.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 48 million people received the booster. White House officials pointed out that the United States administered 12.5 million injections last week, which is the highest single-week total since May.
White House Coronavirus Advisor Jeffrey Zients said: “As we enter the winter and face the new omicron variant, this is a key development.”
At the same time, some states, especially New England and the Midwest, where vaccination rates are high, are grappling with some of the most serious surges since the pandemic began. Hospitals are overcrowded. Some hospitals have responded by canceling non-emergency operations and taking other crisis measures, while states are trying to get ahead of the peak by promoting boosters.
Despite being one of the countries with the highest levels of vaccination in the country—more than 74% of the population has been vaccinated—Vermont is dealing with its biggest surge. Last week, the number of new cases per day increased by 54%, and the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 increased by 18%.
The virus is preying on those who have not been vaccinated: as of Tuesday, 90% of COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit were not vaccinated.
“Obviously, this is not where we want,” Governor Phil Scott said on Tuesday, calling the situation “very frustrating.”
Earlier this week, more than 400 people in New Hampshire were hospitalized with COVID-19, breaking the record set last winter.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu instructed hospitals to use space normally reserved for outpatient care and other activities to establish a COVID-19 “surge center.”
Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, said: “Every day in the next few weeks, the number of COVID hospitalizations in New Hampshire may reach a new high.” “There are more than 1,000 new cases every day, and that number is only Continue to rise.”
Maine is also struggling to deal with the record-breaking COVID-19 hospitalization.
“The vast majority of patients in our hospital are not vaccinated. This is especially true for intensive care patients,” said Andy Mueller, chief executive of MainHealth, the state’s largest medical network. “It requires a lot of our resources to provide care.”
Lifespan, the largest hospital system in Rhode Island, said that staff shortages are at an unprecedented crisis level, while Kent Hospital said it is close to full capacity and is considering postponing non-emergency procedures.
Dr. Paari Gopalakrishnan, Kent’s interim president and chief operating officer, said that the surge may be due to “people relaxing their vigilance during the holidays,” and the flu season may further complicate matters.
New Hampshire plans to hold a “booster blitz” in 15 locations on Saturday. Most appointments are booked.
In Berlin, Vermont, Mike Labounty got a booster on Tuesday.
“I have friends who are in their 20s who are sick, and friends who are in their 60s who are sick,” he said. “The things you see on Facebook are like,’I just want this to end. I’m sick. It’s heavy,’so I just want to avoid this.”
Elsewhere in the country, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Indiana doubled last month and is close to the highest level since the vaccine was widely available at this time a year ago.
The number of intensive care in Minnesota reached its highest level during the pandemic, with 98% of ICU beds occupied. Military medical teams have been sent to Michigan and New Mexico.