The new year starts with one massive influx of Covid-19 it is different from everyone else during this pandemic, doctors say.
“We are seeing an increase in patients again, unprecedented in this pandemic,” said Dr. James Phillips, Head of Disaster Medicine at George Washington University Hospital.
“What is happening to the rest of the country can be very serious. And they need to be prepared.”
Even health professionals are being put on the sidelines during the rapid rise in Omicron variant, the most contagious strain of new coronavirus that has hit the United States.
“Our healthcare system is in a very different place than we were in previous increases,” said Professor of Emergency Medicine Dr. Esther Choo.
“This strain is so contagious that I think we all know many, many colleagues who are currently infected or have symptoms and are in quarantine,” said Choo, an associate professor at Oregon Health and Science University.
“We have lost at least 20% of our healthcare staff – probably more.”
Early studies suggests that the Omicron variant may cause less serious illness than the Delta variant, which still forms a significant part of the US Covid-19 cases.
But because Omicron is much more contagious, the raw number of Covid-19 admissions could get worse, said Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“When you have so many, many cases, even if the number of admissions is lower with Omicron than it is with Delta, there is still a danger that you will have an increase in admissions that could stress the health care system,” said Fauci, director for National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
And Omicron can be more problematic for young children, said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“It looks like now, based on a lot of experimental evidence that we’ve got over the last two weeks, that this is a milder form of coronavirus,” Gottlieb told CBS ‘”Face the Nation” on Sunday.
“It seems to be more of an upper respiratory disease than a lower respiratory disease. It’s good for most Americans. The one group that it can be a problem for is very young children – toddlers – who have problems with upper respiratory tract infections,” Said Gottlieb, a current board member of Pfizer.
“This new strain could again have a predilection for the upper respiratory tract, which can be a greater challenge for young children because of the way it binds to the respiratory cells.”
As millions of students prepared to return to school, new pediatric Covid-19 hospital admissions reached a record high.
In the week ending Dec. 28, an average of 378 children were hospitalized each day with Covid-19, according to CDC data.
This is an increase of 66% compared to the week before. It also breaks the previous record of 342 set during the rise of the Delta variant at the beginning of the school year.
With the more transferable Omicron variant, some schools may delay personal learning, said pediatrician Dr. Peter Hotez.
“That may be the case in some school districts, where things are raging right now with regard to Omicron in the next few weeks, and it may be wise to postpone things a few more weeks,” said Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor. College of Medicine in Houston.
“It’s going to be a very challenging time,” Hotez said. “People have to be patient.”
In Georgia, at least five major school districts in the Atlanta area will begin distance learning this week.
“Due to the rapid increase in positive cases in the Atlanta metro area, students will begin virtual instruction Tuesday, Jan. 4, through Friday, Jan. 7,” the Atlanta Public Schools said Saturday.
“Our current plan is to resume personal instruction on Monday, January 10,” the school district said.
“All APS personnel are required to report to their workplace on Monday, January 3 for the mandatory COVID-19 monitoring test unless they are ill. The data collected from personnel tests will be used for future planning.”
The APS said the goal is to allow students and staff to be tested and to isolate and quarantine as needed, according to guidelines from the CDC and the health department.
Across the country, the rapid spread of the Omicron variant has affected businesses, transportation and emergency services.
“Omicron is really everywhere,” said Dr. Megan Ranney, Professor of Emergency Medicine at Brown University’s School of Public Health.
“What I’m so worried about over the next month or so is that our economy will shut down – not because of policies from the federal government or from the state governments, but rather because so many of us are sick.”
In New York, staffing problems led to the suspension of several subway lines, New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced last week.
And the city’s emergency medical services were instructed not to transport stable patients with flu-like symptoms so they could prioritize them in emergencies, according to a directive issued New Year’s Eve by the fire commissioner, department head, head of EMS and the chief physician. Manager. The directive, which includes limited exceptions, applies to the New York Fire Department and volunteer hospital providers in the city’s 911 system.
In Ohio, the mayor of Cincinnati declared a state of emergency after an increase in Covid-19 infections led to staff shortages in the city’s fire department.
The mayor said that if the problem goes away, it would “significantly undermine” the emergency services’ levels of preparedness.
And thousands of flights have been canceled or delayed as staff and crew report sick.
While Americans who have been fully vaccinated can be infected with Omicronare they less likely than unvaccinated to become seriously ill, health experts say.
That’s what doctors across the country say most inpatients for Covid-19 are unvaccinated.
“What we are seeing is that our vaccinated patients are not getting sick and our frail patients who have been vaccinated with multiple comorbidities need hospitalization, but their hospitalizations are shorter and they are able to leave the hospital after several days, “said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, Chief Physician at Our Lady of Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“Our unvaccinated patients are the sickest patients,” she said. “These are the patients who are most likely in the respirator.
“We are running out of tests,” O’Neal added. “We are running out of space. We are flooded in the emergency room.”
Despite a year of calls from public health experts to be vaccinated – and now boosted – only about 62% of the US population is fully vaccinated according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
And about 33.4% of those who are fully vaccinated have received their booster doses, the data show.
“If you are unvaccinated, this is the group that still has the greatest risk,” said Dr. William Schaffner, professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “The adults who are admitted to my institution remain the vast majority unvaccinated.”