Hospitalizations due to the coronavirus hit a new seven-day average high of 140,576 (Picture: AFP)
Coronavirus-related hospitalizations have hit a new record as the Omicron variant accounts for nearly all new cases in the US.
The seven-day average of people hospitalized with Covid-19 hit 140,576, which surpassed the surge last winter, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Department of Health and Human Services figures on Tuesday.
‘People who are getting hospitalized right now, because we are so short of staff and capacity to care for everyone, they’re very sick or they’ve been in a significant trauma,’ Nancy Foster, the American Hospital Association’s vice president for quality and patient safety policy, told the newspaper.
‘They need to be in the hospital.’
The Omicron variant now represents about 98% of coronavirus cases, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing by the White House Covid-19 Response Team and public health officials on Wednesday.
In a study by Kaiser Permanente in Southern California, no patients with Omicron required medical ventilation, Walensky said. She added that the median length hospital stay for people infected with Omicron was 1 1/2 days, compared to five days for people with the Delta variant. Among Omicron patients, 90% were discharged from the hospital in three days or less.
Cases are still expected to peak in the US.
‘The staggering rise in cases – over one million new cases each day– has led to a high number of, a lot of hospitalizations,’ Walensky said.
‘As we see hospitals and health systems caring for more and more patients in the midst of staffing challenges and faced with a highly transmissible virus, we must all of us do our part in protecting our hospitals… and reducing the further spread of the virus.’
On Tuesday, 1,483,656 new Covid-19 cases were recorded, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The country has had 62.4 confirmed cases and 842,141 deaths.
Death rates are down about 91% in relation to Omicron, Walensky said.
‘I believe right now that those deaths are still the lagging deaths from Delta,’ she said. ‘Given the sheer number of cases, we may see deaths from Omicron, but I speculate that the deaths we’re seeing right now are still from Delta.’
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