With more than more than 100,000 Americans currently hospitalized with COVID-19, experts warn the country is in a worse position than a year ago.
Data from the US Department of Health and Human Services shows there were 100,317 people in hospitals across the country battling COVID-19 on Wednesday (August 25).That’s more than double the 48,851 who were hospitalized the same day last year.
Since the end of July, COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased exponentially due to the more transmissible Delta variant. According to CNN, rates have tripled in the last month and 10% in the last week alone.
Vaccination rates have ticked upwards, though 48.3% of the country’s eligible population remains unvaccinated.
“Last August, we had a fully susceptible population, and we didn’t have a vaccine. Now, we have half the country vaccinated, and many have already been naturally infected, which is protective,” FDA vaccine adviser Paul Offit told CNN. “But nonetheless the numbers are worse … the delta variant is one big game changer.”
Some hospitals have resorted to creating “field hospitals” to keep up with the number of incoming new patients, while others have turned non-COVID-19 patients away.
“I had to turn away a cancer patient that needed an emergency treatment,” Florida oncologist Dr. Nitesh Paryani told the news organization. “For the first time in sixty years of my family’s history of treating cancer, we had to turn someone away … We just didn’t have a bed. There was simply no room in the hospital…,” Paryani added.
Florida has the highest per capita hospitalization rate in the country, seeing 80 hospitalizations per 100,000 people. Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana follow behind, recording more than 55 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, HHS reported.
One Mississippi hospital converted an area of its parking garage to care for the growing number of patients. A public library in Florida is being used to care for the influx of patients, and ambulances are simply unavailable in some cities across the nation.
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