COVID-19 ebbs, but US hospital cases, deaths stay high

Man on oxygen in dark hospital room
Man on oxygen in dark hospital room

gorodenkoff / iStock

Across the country new daily case counts for COVID-19 are declining, but cities and states are still struggling with high demands for hospital services, and Los Angeles late last week reported its most deaths in a single day since Mar 10, 2021.

In Los Angeles, 102 COVID-19 related deaths were reported, and hospitalizations are also rising, with more than 4,000 people hospitalized for the virus, the most recorded since February 2021.

According to ABC News, 90% of the deaths recorded in Los Angeles last week occurred in people who contracted the virus after Christmas, suggesting the new numbers were due to the highly infectious Omicron variant.

"We're still seeing a mortality rate of about 1.4%. It's just the sheer number of people who are infected is extremely high, so 1.4% of a very, very large number gives you a higher number of absolute deaths," Jeffrey Smith, MD, executive vice president of hospital operations and chief operating officer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, told ABC.

The United States reported 204,804 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 572 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.

The 7-day average of new daily cases is 695,757, with 2,018 daily deaths, according to the Washington Post tracker. New daily cases fell 14% in the past week, deaths rose 8%, and hospitalizations fell 3%.

Record hospital cases in Arkansas

Almost 2 years into the pandemic, Arkansas this weekend reported its most hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the Associated Press reports.

Almost 1,700 people in that state are hospitalized with COVID-19. Vaccination rates in the state hover around 54%.

"This upcoming week will tell us what February will look like. Listen to your trusted medical professional and get the vaccine and booster," Gov. Asa Hutchinson tweeted this weekend.

Federal data show that more than 1,000 US hospitals have been reporting daily critical staffing shortages in recent weeks, the Wall Street Journal reports. Hospitalizations have lagged behind the spike in cases that swept across tech country in early January.

The HHS Protect Public Data Hub shows 150,984 inpatient beds in use for COVID-19 across the country.

The CDC COVID Data Tracker shows that 63.4% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 75.5% have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 39.9% of vaccinated Americans have received a booster dose.

Thousands of protesters from around the country were in the nation's capital yesterday for a rally against vaccine mandates, the Washington Post reports. The march hosted notable anti-vaccine advocates, including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Other US developments

  • The Los Angeles Unified School District is prohibiting students from wearing only cloth face masks on campus and will require students to wear "well-fitting, non-cloth masks with a nose wire" starting today, NPR reports.

  • The Food and Drug Administration is considering limiting authorization of some monoclonal antibody treatments, such as those made by Eli Lilly and Regeneron, that don't seem to be effective against Omicron, according to CNN.

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