As the number of coronavirus cases in the United States soared to record levels in October, so did the number of people who were hospitalized. According to the COVID Tracking Project, 47 states saw an increase in hospitalizations last month, leaving many hospitals struggling to cope with the influx of new patients. As of Sunday (November 1), there were 47,502 people in the hospital for COVID-19.
Internal documents from the Department of Health and Human services obtained by NPR show that 24% of hospitals around the country are at 80% of their ICU capacity. Some healthcare facilities in Florida, Alabama, and New York are in worse shape, with 95% of their ICU beds currently occupied. The report, which was dated October 27, said that hospitals across Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Baltimore are at 80% capacity.
As hospitals fill up, local officials are considering putting new lockdown measures in place. Last week, El Paso County, Texas, instituted a two-week curfew and urged residents to stay home after healthcare facilities reported their ICU beds were completely filled.
The virus has infected more than 9.2 million people and killed more than 230,000 in the United States, and health experts are worried that the pandemic is only going to get worse this winter.
"We're right at the beginning of what looks like exponential growth in a lot of states," Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said on Face the Nation. "This is very worrisome as we head into the winter."
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