Deaths from COVID-19 in the United States have averaged over 1,900 a day for the first time since early March, with experts saying the virus largely attacks a separate group: 71 million Americans not vaccinated.
The increasingly deadly turning point has filled hospitals, made it difficult to start school, delayed return to offices and demoralized caregivers.
It’s devastating, said Dr Dena Hubbard, a pediatrician in the Kansas City, Missouri area who has cared for babies born prematurely by Caesarean section in a last-ditch effort to save their mothers, some of whom have passed away. For health workers, the deaths, combined with misinformation and disbelief about the virus, have been heartbreaking and upsetting.
Twenty-two people have died in a single week at CoxHealth hospitals in the Springfield-Branson area, a level almost as high as that of all of Chicago. West Virginia recorded more deaths in the first three weeks of September 340 than in the previous three months combined. Georgia averages 125 deaths per day, more than California or other more populous states.
I have to tell you a guy has to be wondering if we’re ever going to see the end of this or not, said Collin Follis, who is the Missouris Madison County coroner and works at a funeral home.
The nation was stunned in December as it witnessed 3,000 deaths a day. But that was when hardly anyone was vaccinated.
Today, nearly 64% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. And yet, the average number of deaths per day has climbed 40% over the past two weeks, from 1,387 to 1,947, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Health experts say the vast majority of those hospitalized and deceased have not been vaccinated. Although some vaccinated people have suffered from acute infections, these tend to be mild.
The number of Americans eligible for the vaccine who have not yet been vaccinated has been estimated at more than 70 million.
There is a very real risk that you end up in the hospital or even in the obituaries, said Dr.Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer of the Ohio Department of Health, to the unvaccinated. Don’t become a statistic when there is a simple, safe, and effective alternative to go out today and get your shot.
Many communities with low immunization rates also have high rates of diseases like obesity and diabetes, said Dr. William Moss of Johns Hopkins. And this combination with the more contagious delta variant has proven to be fatal.
I think it’s a real social failure and our most egregious sin to be at this point where we have hospitals overwhelmed, intensive care units overwhelmed and hitting that mark in terms of deaths per day, lamented Moss.
New coronavirus cases per day in the United States have declined since early September and now stand at around 139,000. But deaths typically take longer to fall as victims often linger for weeks before succumbing.
In Kansas, Mike Limon, a 65-year-old rancher, believed he had beaten COVID-19 and got back to work for a few days. But the virus had fried his lungs and he died last week, said his grandson, Cadin Limon, 22, of Wichita.
He said his grandfather had not been vaccinated for fear of a bad reaction, nor was he vaccinated for the same reason, although serious side effects were found to be extremely rare. .
He described his grandfather as a man of faith.
Sixty-five is still quite young, said the young man. I know that. It seems sudden and unexpected, but COVID did not surprise God. His death was no surprise to God. The God I serve is greater than that.
Cases are declining in West Virginia from pandemic highs, but deaths and hospitalizations are expected to continue to rise for another six weeks, said retired National Guard Major General James Hoyer, who heads the group. state coronavirus work.
Dr Greg Martin, who is president of the Society of Critical Care Medicine and practices primarily at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, said staff were creaking under the pressure.
I think everyone in 2020 thought we would get there. No one really thought we would always see it the same way in 2021, he said.
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon activated the State National Guard on Tuesday to provide assistance to hospitals facing a wave of COVID-19 patients.
In Oklahoma, Hillcrest South Hospital in Tulsa is one of many medical centers across the country to add temporary mortuaries. Deaths there are at an all-time high, three to four times higher than in a world without COVID-19, said Bennett Geister, CEO of the hospital.
He said the staff there too are exhausted.
They didn’t sign up to be intensive care nurses just for people to die, he said. They signed up to become critical care nurses to get people recovering and heal people on the brink of death.
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