U.S. Hospital Staff Shortages Hit Most in a Year on Covid Surge
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. hospitals are facing their worst staffing shortage in a year as the omicron Covid-19 variant sweeps the country with unprecedented infectiousness.
About 20% of U.S. hospitals are reporting critical staffing shortages, the most since Dec. 28, 2020, according to Department of Health and Human Services data. The seven-day average reached 18%, the highest since Jan. 11, 2021, the data show.
The seven-day average of Covid-19 cases surged to about 554,000 Tuesday, about twice the peak of last winter’s wave, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
So far, the infections are causing much less severe illness and death, a reflection of widespread vaccination and the characteristics of omicron itself. As a result, the U.S.’s intensive-care units are seeing significantly less pressure than in previous waves. At the same time, omicron has made Covid-19 so prevalent that many doctors and nurses are getting sick themselves and isolating. Others are facing burnout nearly two years into the pandemic.
Nursing homes are facing similar concerns, with 34,106 Covid-19 cases among staff in the most recent week, the most on record, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
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