US COVID-19 hospital cases surge

A busy nurse station
A busy nurse station

Drazen Zigic / iStock

Hospitalizations are now catching up with surging COVID-19 case counts in parts of the country where COVID-19 vaccinations are low, and according to the New York Times, some Florida hospitals are seeing their highest COVID-19 patient admission numbers since the pandemic began in March of 2020.

After an early summer drop, cases are rising across the country as the Delta variant (B1617.2) spreads and under-vaccinated communities remain susceptible to the virus. Similarly, almost every state is seeing an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, especially Nevada, Arkansas, and Missouri. The only states not seeing hospitalizations grow are Maryland, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Earlier this week, the American College of Emergency Physicians warned that hospitalizations were likely to rise in the country.

"The new wave of cases is largely from unvaccinated people who get the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19," said Mark Rosenberg, DO, MBA, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, in a statement. "Tragedy can be averted if we take steps to protect ourselves and each other. The vaccines offer strong protection against severe illness or death and are the best tools we have to get us closer to the end of this pandemic."

The United States reported 55,058 cases and 315 deaths yesterday, per the Johns Hopkins University tracker. In total, the United States has confirmed 34,293,127 cases, including 610,233 deaths.

Across the country, a total of 162.2 million Americans are fully vaccinated, or 48.8% of the population, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

US purchases 200 million doses of Pfizer

Today Pfizer and German partner BioNTech announced the US government purchased 200 million additional doses of their COVID-19 mRNA vaccine in anticipation of emergency use authorizations for pediatric populations in the coming months.

The agreement also allows the country to purchase possible booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine if needed.

"As a long-term partner to the US government in the fight against this pandemic, we are proud of the impact of vaccination efforts across the country. Vaccines have been and will remain critical to protecting lives against this devastating disease," said Albert Bourla, chairman and chief executive officer of Pfizer in a press release. "These additional doses will help the US government ensure broad vaccine access into next year."

So far the US has purchased more than 500 million doses of Pfizer, of which more than 200 million have been delivered, according to Reuters.

School study in Philadelphia shows success of vaccines

Today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, authors show mRNA vaccines were highly effective in protecting Philadelphia school staff from COVID-19 this spring. Beginning Mar 21, when the school district of Philadelphia resumed in-person learning, staff were required to get tested weekly for COVID-19.

Positive test results were 95% lower among persons who reported receipt of two doses of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (0.09%) than among those who were unvaccinated (1.77%).

"The percentage of positive test results for persons who had received 1 vaccine dose was lower than that among unvaccinated persons, but higher than that for 2-dose recipients, which underscores the importance of completing the 2-dose COVID-19 mRNA vaccination series," the authors said.

Other US news

  • US Olympic officials say 83% of the more than 600 athletes on Team USA are vaccinated.

  • The NFL yesterday said outbreaks on teams triggered by unvaccinated players will lead to forfeited games, a tough stance that seems to be winning praise, yet pushback from some players.

  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said it was "time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks" for her state's current COVID-19 surge. Ivey said unvaccinated people are "choosing a horrible lifestyle of self-inflicted pain." Alabama has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, at around 33%.

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