Covid Hospital Cases Rise in 25 States as CDC Sees Fourth Wave
(Bloomberg) -- Hospitalizations related to Covid-19 are climbing in half of the U.S., the latest sign that the nation’s fourth upswing in infections is underway. Patients are younger, and their numbers are rising even in places with high levels of vaccine penetration and past infections.
Rochelle Walensky, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fought back tears at a press briefing Monday as she outlined warning signals, saying she was frightened about such a fourth wave. “We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope,” she said, “but right now I’m scared.”
The seven-day average of hospital admissions with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 increased in 25 states plus the nation’s capital and Puerto Rico last week, compared with same period a week earlier, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data through Saturday.
The nationwide seven-day average rose by 1.8% from a week earlier to 10,115. The numbers began rising last week -- albeit subtly -- for the first time since Jan. 11.
The most dramatic surge has come in Michigan, with admissions up 50%, to an average of 379 a day. The situation isn’t as bad as what the state saw in November and December, but it’s deteriorating quickly.
The next-worst momentum was in South Dakota, where daily admissions rose by 40% to an average of 28, according to the HHS data, which includes both adults and pediatric hospitalizations.
South Dakota’s new upswing should end speculation about whether herd immunity is near. The state has given at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine to 34% of the population, and more than 47% of the state had already been infected as of late February, according to estimates by independent data scientist Youyang Gu. North Dakota, another state with exceptionally high levels of vaccination and past estimated infections, is also seeing an upswing in hospitalizations.
Nationwide, about two in three patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 are now younger than 65, according to data updated Friday from Covid-Net, a surveillance network covering 14 states.
Still, the U.S. can curb the latest wave with a faster vaccine rollout. And the outcomes may be better, thanks to the targeted vaccination of America’s most vulnerable starting last December. The 65-and-over community has accounted for four in five Covid-19 deaths, and about 72% of that group has gotten at least one dose of vaccine, according to the CDC.
- The U.S. is administering an average of 2.71 million vaccine doses a day, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.
- The U.S. posted 44,229 Covid-19 cases Sunday, pushing the seven-day average to 63,370, the highest since March 4, according to Johns Hopkins University.
- The U.S. reported 510 deaths Sunday, bringing the seven-day average up slightly to 997.
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