COLUMBUS, OH the worst is yet to come
The number of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 reached a record high in the United States on Thursday at 100,667, according to the COVID tracking project. That figure has more than doubled in the past month, with new daily deaths averaging 210,000 and deaths averaging 1,800 a day, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Arizona reported more than 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the second day in a row on Friday, as the number of available resuscitation beds fell below 1
The state expects to receive enough doses of new coronavirus vaccines by the end of the year to inoculate more than 383,000 health workers and long-term care residents, the state health director said on Friday. Next in line are teachers and other key workers, followed by older Arizona or people who are otherwise at higher risk of serious cases of COVID-19.
Nevada reported 48 new coronavirus deaths on Thursday, marking the deadliest day since the pandemic began, as deaths and deaths continued to rise more than a week after new business restrictions were imposed. One hospital was so full that it treated patients in an auxiliary unit in the garage.
Government officials said Friday that they expect to receive 164,000 doses this month.
North Carolina reported a record 5,600 new confirmed cases on Thursday and 2,100 hospitalizations as it expected nearly 85,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, possibly as early as Dec. 15.
Healthcare workers in a limited number of mostly large hospitals will be the first in line to receive the vaccine, giving priority to those most at risk of exposure to the virus, officials said. Future doses will be distributed to more hospitals and local health departments, followed by nursing home staff and residents.
Health officials fear the pandemic will worsen before it improves due to delayed Thanksgiving effects, when millions of Americans ignored warnings to stay home and celebrate with only members of their household.
At the same time, hospitals – and their staff – have been stretched to the limit.
In Pennsylvania, nearly half of all hospitals in the south-central region and a third of those in the southwest expect staff shortages within a week, according to the state Department of Health.
The best public health official, Dr. Rachel Levine, said on Thursday that 85% of the state’s intensive care beds were occupied and modeling showed they would be full this month. Nurses in the Philadelphia area, meanwhile, said the huge number of patients with COVID-19 affects the quality of care they can provide.
“I hear from doctors and hospital management all the time how tense hospitals are,” Levin said.
Officials are also concerned that Americans will leave their guard once states start administering vaccines.
It will take weeks to months before many of the country’s most vulnerable can be immunized, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birks said Thursday. Until then, Americans should not hold indoor gatherings with people they do not live with, or take off their masks when outdoors, and should continue to distance themselves from others and wash their hands, she said.
“I think everyone can see that the current leap we’re experiencing is much faster and wider in the United States and lasts longer,” Birks said after a meeting at UN headquarters in New York.
Nationally, the coronavirus has been blamed for nearly 277,000 deaths and 14 million confirmed infections.
An influential modeling group at the University of Washington said on Friday that the expected spread of vaccines in the United States would mean 9,000 fewer deaths by April 1st. The Institute for Health Metrics and Estimates predicts that higher temperatures and then rising vaccination levels will lead to a steady decline in daily mortality tolls starting in February.
But even with the vaccine, the death toll could reach 770,000 by April 1st if states do not take action to control the current spikes, the group said.
It was only this week that states learned how many doses to expect and when, and received guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommended that healthcare professionals and patients in nursing homes receive the first doses. This meant that some had to make last-minute adjustments.
“2020 has taught us to plan for what you can, and then expect something that you never dreamed would happen,” said Dr. Michelle Fiscus, medical director of the Department of Health’s immunization program. Tennessee, during a webinar on Friday. “I can’t tell you how many plans we’ve crushed and discarded.”
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said nursing home residents, along with frontline health workers, would receive the first doses in his state.
“These are the people who most often suffer from complications. These are older people who are most likely to suffer deaths. And these are the people who are most likely to enter the hospital, “Lamont said on Thursday. Connecticut expects to receive its first shipment of 31,000 doses of vaccine from Pfizer on December 14 and its first shipment of 61,000 from Modern on December 21.
But states also balanced concerns about the economy and the protection of key workers.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said the state vaccine plan required the first photos to be sent to frontline health workers at high risk of coronavirus exposure, including nursing home workers as well as nursing home residents. The workers at the meat-packing plant and the employees in the grocery stores will be next in line, along with the first responders.
In Ohio, health workers and others caring for COVID-19 patients and emergency medical personnel will be first in line for the vaccine, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said Friday. Vulnerable people living together and those caring for them, including nursing homes and assisted staff, will be next.
The state expects more than 500,000 in combined doses from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of December, the governor said, with the first distribution starting on December 15th. DeWine said it was too early to know when adults without health problems would receive the vaccine, and warned that Ohio residents would need to remain vigilant.
“We are in a very dangerous situation and … we cannot allow our hospitals to get to the point where healthcare is at stake,” DeWine said. “The useful hour, the wearing of masks, the retail check have helped, but they have not helped enough. We will have to do more. We have no choice. “
Christie announced from Phoenix. Associated Press writers Brian Anderson in Raleigh, North Carolina; Carla K. Johnson in Seattle; Edith Lederer in New York; John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas; Michael Rubinkam in northeastern Pennsylvania; Paul Davenport in Phoenix; Sam Metz in Carson City, Nevada; Susan Hay in Hartford, Connecticut; and Tammy Weber of Fenton, Michigan, contributed to this story.