Delta variant threatens to erase America’s anti-epidemic achievements

Hospital system on the verge of collapse

The number of cases and deaths from Covid-19 in the US has increased to levels not seen since the winter of 2021, dragging back progress in disease prevention efforts in this country and showing the urgency. must conduct a more extensive vaccination campaign as announced by President Joe Biden.

The number of cases, mainly caused by the Delta variant along with the anti-vaccination sentiment of some Americans, occurs mostly in the South of the country. While the situation in once-hotspot areas like Florida and Louisiana is improving, infection rates have skyrocketed in Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee as children go back to school, loosen mask rules and low vaccination rates.

Many hospitals are experiencing dire conditions like the peak of the epidemic in early January. Many surgeries have been postponed at hospitals in Washington state and Utah. Kentucky and Alabama have severe medical staff shortages. Tennessee is short of hospital beds, and intensive care facilities in Texas are overcrowded.

The stagnation in the national immunization campaign in the United States over the past nine months has angered and frustrated health professionals. The vast majority of those who die and are hospitalized are unvaccinated and this is a valuable lesson for many families.

The governor of Kentucky said that 70% of hospitals in the state reported severe staff shortages. “Our hospitals in many communities are on the verge of collapse,” said Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky’s public health commissioner.

The US is recording an average of more than 1,800 deaths and 170,000 new cases per day, the highest levels since early March and late January 2021. Both of these numbers have increased sharply in the past two weeks. Although it is still below the scary peak of January 2021 – when the country averages about 3,400 deaths and about 250,000 cases every day, the current situation is very alarming.

The US is providing about 900,000 injections per day, down sharply from 3.4 million in mid-April 2021. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory board has met to discuss whether a booster dose of Pfizer vaccine should be given. There is a positive point that the number of people hospitalized due to Covid-19 is leveling off, even falling to about 90,000 people per day.

Last week, US President Joe Biden ordered all employers who employ more than 100 people to vaccinate or test workers weekly. The regulation could affect 80 million Americans. About 17 million healthcare workers at facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding from the U.S. Government will also be required to be vaccinated. Exemptions are for religious reasons or for people with disabilities.

“We have read, heard or seen the stories of people who were hospitalized, people who had to stay in hospital beds. They are among those who have not been vaccinated in the past. This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Biden said as he announced the new regulations. The rule, however, has been met with opposition from Republicans.

Worrying numbers

The state of Arizona on September 14 announced it had recorded 117 deaths – the highest level since February 2020. Tennessee currently leads the US in the number of new cases per capita. Hundreds of university students in the state have been quarantined.

And in Alabama, hundreds of Covid-19 patients have to be treated in intensive care facilities. A hospital in this state had to contact 43 hospitals in 3 different states to find an ICU bed for a 73-year-old male patient, but unfortunately this patient passed away on September 1.

In the state of Kentucky, an emergency doctor said he has received many patients in families with many generations living together and the risk of disease is very high in the elderly members who have not been vaccinated.

“Currently in Kentucky, one-third of new cases are in people under the age of 18. Some children got sick from summer camp and then spread it to the rest of the family. Now that schools are open, in the face of daily interactions between children and teachers as well as between students, the risk of infection is even higher.”

In Hidalgo County, Texas, previously saw about 50 patients with Covid-19 in a day in July. By early August, this number had increased to more than 600. Ivan Melendez – Hidalgo’s health official know: “The situation is a little better now. The number of people hospitalized on September 13 was less than 300, but the ICU was still operating at over 90% of capacity.

Linsey Marr, an environmental professor at Virginia Tech, said the biggest summer spikes occurred in states with low vaccination rates, especially in the South, where demand for air conditioners is high. She said the northernmost states could also see an increase in cases as cold weather keeps people indoors.

In the context of complicated epidemic developments in the US, more and more people support the government’s mandatory vaccination regulations. A Politico/Morning Consult poll, conducted September 10-13 with 1,997 voters, found that 58 percent of respondents supported a federal regulation requiring employers to get a Covid vaccine. -19 or weekly testing for employees. Of these, 41% are “strongly in favor” and 17% are “partially supportive”. Approval ratings were also unevenly partisan. 83% of Democratic voters expressed support for the plan, compared with 32% of Republican voters.

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