New York- Kentucky and Texas have joined a growing list of states that have smashed their own hospitalization records for Covid-19 patients in a wave that has overwhelmed the capacity of doctors and nurses, and is affecting more and more children.
The country’s intensive care units are filled with severely ill coronavirus patients, even in places where hospitals haven’t reached their previous peak.
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Georgia typically accommodates 38 patients in its intensive care units, and doctors and nurses used to take care of two or three very sick people, said Dr. Jyotier Mehta, the ward’s medical director. On Wednesday, there were 50 Covid-19 patients in intensive care units and about half were on ventilators.
“It doesn’t seem to me that we’ve had so many critical cases, so many patients at the same time,” Mehta said.
He pointed out the difficulty of talking with relatives of patients. “They cling to any hope, no matter how small, and you try to tell them look, it’s bad,” he said. “You have to tell them that their loved ones will not live.”
In New Mexico, top health authorities warned Wednesday that the state is a week away from legalizing health care. The number of coronavirus patients requiring hospital care increased more than 20% in a single day.
“We’re going to have to decide who gets care and who doesn’t,” said the entity’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, David Scriese. “We don’t want to get to that point.”
In Idaho, state officials have urged people to volunteer to keep medical facilities running.
Texas and Kentucky on Wednesday reported more Covid-19 patients in their hospitals than at any time since the pandemic began, 14,255 and 2,074, respectively. The highest ever rate of patients in Texas is based on statistics from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
At least six other states — Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii, Mississippi and Oregon — have already surpassed their previous records for hospitalization.
In Texas, nearly 47% of the population has been fully vaccinated — below the national average of roughly 52% — and Republican Governor Greg Abbott is refusing to issue mask and vaccine requests. Several districts and school districts challenged Abbott’s position and enforced the use of masks.
In Kentucky, less than 48% of the population is fully vaccinated, and health authorities have attributed the new surge in infections to late vaccinations. The restrictions imposed by Democratic Governor Andy Beshear expired in June, and the legislature, which has a Republican majority, has prevented him from making new rulings on the use of masks or restrictions on indoor seating.
Nationally, more than 1.00 deaths are reported daily from Covid-19, the highest level since mid-March, and new infections are reaching a daily average of 152,000, numbers similar to those seen at the end of January. This week, the number of people infected with the emerging coronavirus reached about 85,000, a level not recorded since the beginning of February.
The increase in cases is mainly due to the highly contagious delta variant among unvaccinated people. In areas where vaccination rates are particularly low, doctors have asked to vaccinate their communities to avoid saturating hospitals.
Doctors also warned of the increasing incidence of disparity between children and young adults.
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