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Omicron urges US record COVID hospitalizations to set record

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© Reuters. A member of the Ohio National Guard assists in testing for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Columbus, Ohio, USA on January 5, 2022. REUTERS / Gaelen Morse

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By Susan Heavey and Maria Caspani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – COVID-19 hospitalizations in the United States are set to hit a new high on Friday, according to a Reuters report, surpassing the record set in January last year as a highly contagious Omicron variant is pushing for a rise. infections.

Hospitalizations have steadily increased since the end of December, as Omicron quickly overtook the Delta as a major variant of the U.S. coronavirus, although experts say Omicron will be less lethal than previous iterations.

Health officials have warned that the high number of infections caused by Omicron could strain hospital systems, and some of them have already shown signs of distress, partly due to staff shortages.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the peak here in the United States yet,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said on Friday on NBC News’ “Today” program that schools and businesses are also struggling. the rise of cases.

The U.S. reported 662,000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the fourth daily in the U.S., after reporting a million cases and just three days later, according to a Reuters count.

The seven-day average of new cases set a record for the 10th consecutive day of 597,000, while COVID hospitalizations reached nearly 123,000 and were ready to break the record of more than 132,000.

Deaths, an indicator that delays hospitalizations, remain fairly stable at a still high 1,400 a day, according to the count, but well below last year’s record number.

WISE DOUBLE

Kathy Hochul, governor of New York and head of one of the largest hospitals in the United States, said she was cautiously optimistic that the cases and hospitalizations would soon be in the state.

“We believe the peak with our modeling will happen next week,” Steven Corwin, director general of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, said in a daily speech in Hochul.

Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Vermont and Washington, DC, reported record levels of COVID patients hospitalized in recent days, according to a Reuters analysis.

Hospitalization data, however, often do not differentiate between people admitted for COVID-19 and so-called positive events. They are patients who have been admitted and treated for other problems while on hospital and contracted the virus and are counted among the COVID hospitalizations.

Infections have occurred during the pandemic, but they could be significantly greater now as a result of the rapid pace of Omicron’s spread – a phenomenon that has prompted state health departments to consider changing their disclosures.

In New York, where hospitalizations are on the rise, the governor said 42% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were hospitalized for other reasons after being infected.

From next week, Massachusetts hospitals will announce whether the admissions are due to COVID-19, said Kathleen Conti, a spokeswoman for the state health department.

Rising cases have forced hospital systems to delay elective surgeries in nearly half of U.S. states.

Hospital employment fell in December from June onwards.

Friday’s U.S. monthly employment report highlighted the health sector as one of the weakest points, as overall employment in the sector fell by about 3,100 workers.

Although many school systems have promised to continue teaching in person, some have been shut down as cases have increased. Chicago – the third largest public school system in the United States – closed its schools on Friday for the third day in a row as teachers backed COVID-19.

U.S. and other officials say schools can be opened safely, especially with available vaccines and enhancers.

Officials continue to demand vaccinations as the best protection against serious illness, even though the federal mandates that require them have become politically contentious.

U.S. Supreme Court judges on Friday grilled state officials and business groups seeking to block a large-scale vaccination or testing order for President Joe Biden and pressured the administration to justify its policy as COVID-19 cases rose nationwide.

US workers Citigroup Inc (NYSE :), which did not receive the vaccine against COVID-19 by January 14, will be placed on unpaid leave and will be released at the end of the month unless a vaccine is granted, a source told Reuters on Friday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration narrowed the gap between major series on Friday Modern (NASDAQ 🙂 COVID-19 vaccine and six to five months booster dose for people 18 years of age and older with a similar move to those eligible for Pfizer / BioNTech boosters.


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