Covid-19, Omicron and Vaccine News: Live Updates

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credit…Etienne Laurent / EPA, via Shutterstock

The highly contagious variant of Omicron is fueling a massive wave of coronavirus that is pushing hospitals nearly to the limits of their capacity in about two dozen states, according to data published by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Figures show that at least 80 percent of staffed hospital beds were occupied in 24 states on Thursday, including Georgia, Maryland and Massachusetts.

Even more alarming, the data showed that in 18 states and Washington, D.C., at least 85 percent of beds in adult intensive care units were full, with severe family scarcity in Alabama, Missouri, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Texas.

The pressure on ICU capacity comes because the Omicron variant has led to a nearly vertical rise in infections and hospitalizations. The country as a whole and 26 states reported more coronavirus cases in the past week than any other seven-day period.

At the time, more than 803,000 coronavirus cases were reported daily in the United States, a 133 percent increase from the past two weeks, according to the New York Times database, and 25 states and territories reported their highest weekly rates. The number of cases so far. Deaths rose 53 percent to an average of 1,871 per day.

This helped push the average hospitalization rate in the country above its peak last winter. The number of hospitalizations of people who tested positive for the coronavirus during that week is more than 148,000 per day, a record high. The numbers are rising fastest in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, according to the Times database.

(Hospitalization figures include people who have tested positive for the virus after admission in conditions unrelated to Covid-19, but there is no national data showing how many people are in this category.)

President Biden said this week that since Thanksgiving, the White House has dispatched more than 350 military doctors, nurses, paramedics and other personnel to 24 states to help hospitals with staffing challenges, and plans to send an additional 1,000 troops to six of the hardest-hit. States. This is in addition to more than 14,000 National Guard personnel deployed to 49 states to assist workers in hospitals and other medical facilities, he and other officials said.

On Wednesday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said the state would spend $40 million in federal money to hire more staff to help hospitals there for the next 60 days because “we know we’re going to continue to see a sharp rise in cases from the Omicron variant.” Hospitals are struggling Minnesota has been surviving since the fall, when the National Guard was called in to help an influx of patients infected with the more deadly delta type.

Also Wednesday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown said she would send an additional 700 members of the state’s National Guard — bringing the total deployed to 1,200 members — to help hospitals deal with a surge in coronavirus patients. “Our hospitals are under severe pressure,” she wrote on Twitter.

A day earlier, Maine Governor Janet Mills said she was activating 169 members of the National Guard to help with capacity restrictions in hospitals, joining more than 200 members already deployed in the state.

Ms Mills said in a statement: “I hope we don’t have to take this step, but the increase in the number of hospitalizations – primarily caused by those who have not been vaccinated – is draining the capacity of our health care system, putting care at risk for the people of Maine, and putting pressure growing burden on already exhausted healthcare workers.”

Albert Sun Contribute to research.

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