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Biden deploys military medics to hospitals in six states

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Biden deploys military medics to hospitals in six states

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A soldier transports a patient to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, December 30, 2021.

Joseph Prezioso | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden will announce the deployment of six teams of military medical personnel to overwhelmed hospitals in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Michigan and New Mexico on Thursday, a White House official said.

The deployments come as hospitals grapple with staffing shortages as nurses and other medical staff call in omicron patients amid a wave of patients infected with the highly contagious variant.

Hospitalizations linked to Covid-19 are higher than the peak of last winter, before the widespread dissemination of vaccines. More than 152,000 people in the United States were hospitalized with Covid on Wednesday, up 18% from last week, according to data tracked by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The United States reported nearly 900,000 new infections on Wednesday, bringing the seven-day average to more than 786,000 new cases per day – a pandemic record and a 37% increase from the previous week, according to a CNBC analysis data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. .

On average, more than 1,000 hospitals nationwide are currently reporting critical staff shortages, according to HHS data. However, this is likely an undercoverage as many hospitals were not reporting their status on Wednesday.

Dr Gillian Schmitz, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said the pressure on frontline workers is worse now than at any time during the pandemic.

“Many places across the country are getting to the point where even their backup staff are getting sick,” Schmitz told CNBC on Wednesday. “Almost the whole country is currently feeling this increase in the number of cases which is having an impact on the staff. “

Biden announced plans to deploy 1,000 military medical personnel to support hospitals in December as omicron quickly overtook the delta variant. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is also providing additional hospital turns and dispatching ambulances and EMS teams to help transport patients.

“It’s not enough,” Schmitz told CNBC on Wednesday. “I know everyone is trying to support the best they can, but resources are limited, even within our national structure.”

Epidemiologists have warned that the scale of omicron infections still threatens to overwhelm hospitals with patients, even though the variant is generally less severe than delta.

Infectious disease experts, in a study this week, found that omicron patients at Kaiser Permanente Southern California were 74% less likely to need intensive care and 91% less likely to die from the virus compared to people who have grabbed the delta variant. None of the omicron patients required mechanical ventilation, according to the study.

According to the study, the overall risk of hospitalization was also 52% lower for omicron patients compared to people who had delta. Hospital stays of omicron patients were also about three days shorter than those of their delta counterparts.

Kaiser Permanente Southern California provides care to more than 4.7 million people. The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, analyzed more than 52,000 omicron cases and nearly 17,000 delta cases.

Doctors and nurses have warned of staff shortages for months. The American Nurses Association in September called on the Biden administration to declare the nursing shortage a national crisis.

“The country’s healthcare delivery systems are overwhelmed and nurses tired and frustrated as this persistent pandemic rages on without end,” then ANA President Ernest Grant said. “Nurses alone cannot solve this longstanding problem and it is not our burden to bear,” Grant said.

Acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr Janet Woodcock told lawmakers on Tuesday that the United States needs to make sure hospitals and other essential services don’t go down as people call in for sick people.

“It’s hard to deal with what’s really going on right now which is that most people are going to catch Covid,” Woodcock told the Senate health committee on Tuesday. “What we need to do is make sure that hospitals can still function, that transportation and other essential services are not disrupted while this is happening.”

Biden deploys military medics to hospitals in six states

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