According to the Department of Health and Human Services, hospitals in nearly half of US states are approaching capacity as the Omicron variant has triggered a record number of cases across the country.
In 18 states, at least 85% of adult intensive care unit beds were in use, while in 24 states, at least 80% of staffed hospital beds were occupied, according to HHS data.
Alabama, Missouri, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Texas and Wisconsin are among the states with a particular shortage of critical care beds.
In Texas, which this week set a new record for reported single-day Covid-19 cases, with 75,817 total new cases, more than 92% of intensive care beds are occupied, according to HHS, 34.3 % of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients.
In Wisconsin, 90.6% of intensive care beds are occupied, 41.4% of those with Covid-19 patients. Rhode Island and Alabama each have more than 91% of critical care beds occupied. The New York Times first reported on the HHS data.
The south has been hit particularly hard by the new variant, with states continuing to report record numbers of cases amid serious concerns about hospital staffing shortages.
On Thursday, Joe Biden said 1,000 military personnel will be sent to help ease staffing shortages at hospitals across the country, with many facilities struggling because their workers are in home quarantine due to the virus at the same time. than Covid-19 cases. jumped up.
The United States leads the world in the average daily number of new infections reported, accounting for one in three infections reported globally, according to a Reuters tally. The data suggests cases could start to plateau in New York and the East Coast after extraordinary surges.
However, Texas has reported a test positivity rate of more than 35% over the past week, WFAA.com reported, as the Texas Department of State and Health Services stated: “Covid has never spread so quickly” in the state.
The state of Alabama reported a record number of children hospitalized with coronavirus this week, due to the highly transmissible variant of Omicron. At least 60 children had been hospitalized, 13 of whom were receiving treatment in intensive care.
The state recorded a number of case records throughout January as authorities continue to urge everyone who is eligible to receive the Covid vaccine.
State health officials told the Montgomery Advertiser they are “extremely concerned” about the increase in hospitalizations for children and parents to get their children vaccinated.
Vaccination rates in Alabama also remain low, with only 48% of the population fully vaccinated.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a requirement that employees of big companies must be vaccinated against Covid-19 or undergo weekly tests and wear a mask at work.
The court’s conservative majority found that the administration exceeded its authority by seeking to impose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha) vaccine or test rule on U.S. businesses with at least 100 employees. More than 80 million people are said to have been affected.
Biden has pledged to provide 1 billion free home testing kits to Americans as a shortage of testing kits across the country continues to hamper efforts to control the Omicron variant. Biden said a website where people can request tests will launch next week.
The White House said Friday that 500 million rapid home tests will be available to order online on January 19 and will be sent directly to American households for free.
In New York, the number of new cases has leveled off in recent days, The New York Times reported, while New Jersey and Maryland saw a slight decrease in the number of infections.
“Each case is one too many, but if you look at the trend line, it looks like we’re going to hit that high,” Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York, said in a briefing this week.
“We’re not at the end, but it’s a beacon of hope when we desperately need it.”