US Covid cases surge as vaccine progress slows and Omicron variant sparks fears | Ohio

For Dr. Rina D’Abramo of the MetroHealth System in Cleveland, it’s hard for patients in the emergency room to tell her they haven’t been vaccinated.

“You can hear it in their voices when you say, ‘Have you been vaccinated?'” said Dabramo, who works at a hospital in the Brixville suburb. “They shrink down and get like, ‘No. Now I know why I need a vaccination.'”

Unfortunately, there are plenty of people in Ohio and the rest of the United States as well who haven’t learned that lesson yet, even as infection rates begin to rise again nationally amid concerns about the new, potentially highly contagious Omicron variant.

Ohio is one of the states that has seen the largest recent increases in hospitalizations due to Covid as the number of cases soared across the country. There has been a 19% increase in hospital admissions over the past two weeks in the United States, according to The New York Times data analysis.

Ohio has the daily average of more than 4,400 people hospitalized for Covid, which ranks fourth among states and represents a 29% increase over the past two weeks.

While the increase in the number of people vaccinated against Covid has inspired hopes that Americans will be able to experience a relatively normal winter, the rise in Covid cases; Holiday gatherings Unanswered questions about the Omicron variant have raised new concerns and warnings from US doctors and public health officials.

“The yellow warning light went on because I think our progress in vaccination has slowed,” said William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

40 percent of the US population is not fully vaccinated, and the number of doses taken daily has fallen from about 3.3 million in April to about 1.7 million today, according to the Times..

Ohio is surrounded by states that have also recently seen a spike in COVID cases and hospitalizations. Both Pennsylvania and Michigan have a daily average of more than 4,500 patients hospitalized, which is a 20% increase over the past two weeks. Illinois and Indiana saw a 49% increase in hospitalizations.

About 10 patients contract Covid every day, Dabramo said, and about 98% of them are not immune.

This trend has strained the capacity of hospitals in the Cleveland area. MetroHealth, Cleveland Clinic and university hospitals announced last week that the surge has forced them to postpone some non-urgent surgeries.

A joint announcement reads, “This action frees up resources for patients with immediate and life-threatening needs and manages demands on frontline caregivers, who have served with distinction during the pandemic.”

Matthew Sims, a Beaumont physician and director of infectious disease research, at Beaumont Health, Michigan’s largest health care system, said the emergency room and other parts of the hospital are full, primarily with unvaccinated patients.

With Covid patients, they have to be in the rooms. You can’t go into overload conditions where you can convert conference rooms into emergency rooms or corridors into suites. “You can’t do that kind of thing when it’s an infectious disease,” Sims said.

Beaumont, like other hospitals in Michigan and across the country, has had to deal with staff shortages. The federal government recently approved sending 22 health care providers to the Beaumont facility in Dearborn and 22 providers to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, the Detroit News reported.

In addition to the shortage, “Everyone who works in healthcare feels very tired. We’ve dealt with this for two years in a row, and it’s taking a toll on us,” Sims said.

Doctors continue to urge people not only to receive the Covid vaccination – and for those who qualify for a booster dose – but also to encourage people to wear N95 or KN95 masks during indoor gatherings and if possible, to gather outdoors or open doors, said Dr. Infectious and epidemiologist at New York University, The Windows for Better Filtration.

Gunder also suggested that people get rapid COVID tests before holiday gatherings.

“I think we chose one of the most painful paths during the pandemic in this country” because of people’s refusal to get the vaccine, Gaunder said. “I think we have unnecessarily prolonged our pain.”

Gaunder and others are now waiting for more data on the Omicron variant, which has been detected in 19 states and 50 countries, NPR reported Tuesday.

South African researchers report that Omicron may be more contagious but less severe than other forms of the virus.

While Schaffner emphasized that we’re still waiting for more information, if the variant turns out to be more contagious and less likely to lead to hospitalization, “Omicron might actually be a bonus because we’re going to vaccinate, but Omicron will also spread among the unvaccinated, making them sick.” It is light and offers them some protection.”

That would “get us closer to what’s called herd immunity,” Schaffner said, which might lead us to more endemic conditions, not a pandemic.

Meanwhile, D’Abramo, an emergency physician in Ohio, continues to fight the pandemic in and out of the hospital. She said two unvaccinated friends of a 10-year-old had recently contracted COVID-19.

Wife is still on ECMO; The husband was hospitalized for two weeks and is now at home.

“For me, this is a tragedy. There is no way to say that she would not have gotten sick if she had been vaccinated, but most likely, she would not have been,” Dabramo said.

At the hospital, she routinely has Covid patients waiting for beds in the intensive care unit. D’Abramo must decide if she should be intubated and connected to a ventilator.

“I never come home from a shift and say, ‘It was a nice, natural transformation,'” D’Abramo said. “It’s non-stop and it kind of feels like you’re getting battered because you’re being battered by something I thought might be ending this winter.”

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