'This is a disaster': five US states set new records for the number of cases of COVID-19
Five states have broken records for the average number of new COVID-19 cases over the weekend. The delta option is putting pressure on hospitals in the US and forcing many states to re-establish public health restrictions. The edition told in more detail CNBC.
Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii, Oregon and Mississippi all reached new peaks as of Sunday, Aug.15, according to data analysis by Johns Hopkins University. On a per capita basis, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida suffer from the three worst outbreaks in the country.
Louisiana had an average of 126 cases per 100 inhabitants, more than three times the national average, while Mississippi and Florida averaged 000 and 110 cases per 101 residents, respectively.
“It's summer now, people are getting together again, they're in large groups, the vaccine has kind of given people a false sense of security, and they're forgetting everything,” said Dr. Perry Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health.
The Delta variant hit the Gulf Coast especially hard, pushing hospitals to their limits. To try to curb the Louisiana outbreak, officials in July recommended indoor masks for everyone, whether vaccinated or not. On August 2, they re-enacted a state-wide mask mandate after it became apparent that the recommendations were not working and cases continued to rise.
Everyone must now wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status, including all students from kindergarten to college.
Louisiana has the fifth highest vaccination rate among all states in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with 38,3% of the population fully immunized against COVID-19. Louisiana reported an all-time high average number of cases in seven days, according to Hopkins. That's over 5800 new cases as of August 15, up almost 27% from a week ago.
Louisiana recorded an average of 44 deaths in seven days, up 46% from the previous week. Nearly half of the state's 882 intensive care unit beds were occupied by coronavirus patients as of Monday, Aug. 16, up from a national average of 25%, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves asked residents to get vaccinated. The state is trying to hire hundreds of temporary doctors, nurses, and emergency doctors.
He also requested ventilators from the strategic national stockpile, as the proliferation of the delta variant is filling the state's hospitals with mostly unvaccinated patients. As of Aug 16, nearly 55% of beds in intensive care units in Mississippi were filled with coronavirus patients, and the seven-day state average of new coronavirus cases reported as of Aug 15 was up 57% from a week earlier.
“If you look across the country, to a certain extent this current wave is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Reeves said. “We keep getting more and more data, and it’s getting clearer and clearer. Those who receive the vaccine are significantly less likely to contract the virus. ”
Mississippi has the second highest rate of COVID-19 vaccinations in the country, with 35,8% of the population fully immunized as of Sunday. The state's death toll also hit 20 in seven days, nearly 80% more than a week ago.
Florida reported a record 151 new cases of COVID-764 in a week, hitting a new seven-day average of 19 cases per day - more than any other state. More than half of the state's intensive care unit beds are occupied by COVID-21 patients, according to HHS.
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The spike in the number of cases in Florida stems from Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis continuing to resist calls from the Joe Biden administration and state advocacy groups to enforce mask bans and other pandemic-related measures to help contain the massive outbreak. In May, he signed a decree and law that lifted all COVID-19 restrictions across the state and permanently banned local authorities from imposing new restrictions on July 1.
In late July, DeSantis issued a controversial order banning the use of masks in state schools, overturning decrees from two districts that required their students to wear masks.
Oregon Governor Keith Brown has sent up to 1500 National Guard members to assist the state's health systems as COVID-19 hospitalizations set a new record for three consecutive days. On Aug. 13, the state registered 1765 new cases, bringing the seven-day average to 1652, according to the latest data available.
The state reintroduced a mandate to wear masks for everyone, including fully vaccinated people, in response to a surge in hospital admissions.
Although the outbreak in Hawaii is relatively small compared to most of the mainland states, it has hit new records several times since mid-July. 671 new cases per day on Sunday 15 August.
This is more than a sevenfold jump from 89 cases per day a month ago. The recent spike in incidence has taken health officials by surprise and has begun to overwhelm state hospitals. The total number of hospitalizations on the islands is 3030, with 552 deaths reported.
“We're on fire. When we see an exponential increase in the number of people contracting COVID-19 every day - 2000 people over the past three days - this is a crisis. And the moment we exhaust our resources, it is a disaster, ”said the director of the Hawaii Department of Health, Dr. Elizabeth Char.
However, hospital admissions rates in Hawaii and Oregon are not as high as in other states. Nationwide, less than 11% of all hospital beds are used by COVID-19 patients. According to HHS, Oregon has 11,4%, Hawaii has 12,1%, followed by Louisiana at 20,4%, Mississippi at 18,7% and Florida at 28,2%.
This indicator is also very closely related to vaccination rates. In states with higher vaccination rates, few COVID-19 patients occupy hospital beds. Oregon has fully vaccinated 56,8% of its residents, followed by Hawaii at 54,3%, Florida at 50,3%, Louisiana at 38,3% and Mississippi at 35,8%.
“This is why Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi are suffering from congestion and rising death rates, while Oregon and Hawaii are suffering from explosive rates of disease, but with high vaccination rates, they may never be in the same perilous position,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong is an Infectious Disease Specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.
As of August 15, the national average of new cases in seven days is 130, which is 710% more than the average for the last seven days. The country's seven-day average for COVID-20 deaths rose to 19, up 687% from the previous average.
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