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More than 100,000 people in the United States were hospitalized with COVID-19 this week — a figure not reported since late January, when vaccines were not widely available.
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed 100,317 COVID hospital patients on Wednesday, a figure that grew to 101,050 on Thursday.
That’s about six times the number of COVID hospitalizations from about nine weeks ago, CNN says.
The HHS data shows COVID hospitalizations are highest across the Southeast, with more than 16,800 patients in Florida, 14,000 in Texas, 6,200 in Georgia, 3,000 in Alabama, and 2,300 in Missouri.
In comparison, California, the most populous state, has about 8,700 people hospitalized with COVID, the HHS said.
Alarmingly, many of these COVID patients are severely ill. About 30% of the nation’s intensive care unit beds are now occupied by COVID patients, HHS data shows.
Infections, deaths, and hospitalizations have increased since early summer as the Delta variant spread across the nation, especially in places with low vaccination rates.
Health experts have said the majority of the hospitalized people are unvaccinated. Research shows that vaccinated people who become infected with the Delta variant generally don’t become as sick as unvaccinated people.
Paul Offit, MD, an FDA vaccine advisory committee member, said the current availability of the vaccine makes the high number of hospitalizations especially tragic.
“The numbers now…are actually in many ways worse than last August,” Offit said on CNN. “Last August, we had a fully susceptible population, (and) we didn’t have a vaccine. Now, we have half the country vaccinated…but nonetheless the numbers are worse. The Delta variant is one big game changer.”
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “Hospital Utilization.”
CNN: “With more than 100,000 people in the hospital with Covid-19 in the US, this August is worse than last, expert says.”
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