American coronavirus: While officials prepare for Omicron, US hospitals are still battling serious Delta variants

Michigan is one of several Midwestern states experiencing the highest rates of infection in the United States, including Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

A county in western New York on Tuesday declared a state of emergency and required face masks in all county-run facilities.

The catalyst for the decision in Monroe County, New York, is the dramatic increase in Covid-19 hospital admissions, the increasing number of ICU beds occupied, and the consequent impact on our hospitals’ ability to treat non-Covid-related acute care and emergencies. said county director Adam Bello in a statement.

Preventive vaccinations and booster shots for the vaccinated are back the best defense for those infected with coronavirus. And officials are asking citizens to get their first doses or boosters to help stave off severe symptoms.
While an increase in demand for booster has been noted – with lines out the door at some clinics in places such as. Boston – other areas have not seen the same urgency.

In West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice said Monday that only 31.8% of people over the age of 65 in the state have been boosted. At the national level, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 44% of seniors have received a booster shot.

“Those people are exposed without faith. We know that if they get (Covid-19), there’s a good chance they’ll die,” Justice said, adding that the Covid-19 increase there “takes a heavy toll “and” still overload “hospitals.

Get booster shots as fast as you can, say health experts as Omicron's spread collides with the relentless Delta variant

“What will happen when winter comes? What will happen if we actually go into another wave? What will happen to the congestion of our hospitals?” he said. “The bottom line is this: If you’re not running to the fire right now and getting your booster shots, then you’re going to hear some depressing news.”

About 59.4% of the total U.S. population has been vaccinated, and just over 1 in 5 fully vaccinated Americans have been boosted, according to CDC data.
While seniors do better with the number of boosters, some populations within that age group lag behind the national average, creating further concerns about racial inequalities in distribution of vaccine and information. Rates of booster shots by black, Hispanic, and Native American seniors follow the overall age group, according to the CDC.
With the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant and research into its risks still weeks from completion, strong immunity evoked from vaccines against previous variants is one of several reasons why so many public health officials are pushing people to be vaccinated or boosted now, said National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins Tuesday.

“If Americans are tired of this and want to do something about it that we are all tired of it, this is what you can do,” Collins told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “If you have not been vaccinated yet, start tomorrow.”

Testing for Omicron increases

With first American case of the Omicron variant now identified in California – a find announced Wednesday by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Health officials across the country are working to find further infections.

The CDC is expanding surveillance at four major international airports – Atlanta, New York’s JFK, Newark and San Francisco – to monitor for the coronavirus variant in travelers, said Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky Tuesday.

Local authorities are already working to see if there are infections. Florida’s Miami-Dade County will begin taking random samples at its test sites to identify variants, an extension that was first explored during the rise of the Delta variant, according to the mayor’s office.

Houston officials announced that the city’s wastewater, which is already being tested weekly for variants, would include a search for Omicron in their results.
My Family's Omicron Question: What Do We Do Now?

While calling for a rapid increase in available tests for individuals, Admiral Dr. Brett Giroir, former deputy secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services and test tsar of Covid-19 during the Trump administration, said Tuesday that the United States has many more weapons to fight the coronavirus than at the beginning of the pandemic.

“We’re at war with this virus, and we’ve been at war with it for almost two years,” Giroir told CNN’s Erica Hill. “In the beginning, we had no weapons. The only thing we could do is, you know, really reduce social interactions. Now that’s all of the above.

“Vaccines are the most important – please, if you are not vaccinated, get vaccinated. Get your booster. We have monoclonal antibodies. We have oral antiviral drugs. We have testing and we still have remedial measures like masks. If you are in a high risk of infection indoors, please wear a mask. ”

Omicron research continues

Health authorities and researchers say to determine infectivity or severity of the Omicron variant stays weeks away.

“We think it’s too early to say what the severity is,” Fauci told a White House Covid-19 briefing on Tuesday, adding that some South African doctors have reported that the patients they treated had mild illness. , but still they treated. young people. Covid-19 infections have generally been more severe in the elderly.

The variant has been created dominant variant in South Africa – where scientists first discovered and reported it – less than two weeks after it was first discovered. In contrast, the Delta variant took a few months before it became dominant there earlier in the year. While travel bans have been adopted to prevent travel to South Africa and neighboring countries, many are in scientific community is crediting of South Africa for its transparency.

As for how effective vaccines or boosters can be against Omicron, Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said a decline is expected, but vaccines can still “cross-protect,” as seen with previous variants.

“If there’s a dramatic drop, it’s one thing. If there’s a modest drop, that means the third immunization holds and we do not have to make a specifically designed booster,” Hotez told CNN’s Ana Cabrera.

Warning that the unvaccinated will continue to be the most vulnerable to both Delta and Omicron, Hotez said, “I can see a scenario where we have both variants in the country where unvaccinated individuals are very susceptible and the infected and healthy people can be re-infected with Omicron. ”

CNN’s Maggie Fox, Jen Christensen, Gregory Lemos, Deidre McPhillips, Naomi Thomas, Kiely Westhoff, Raja Razek, Jamie Gumbrecht, Hira Humayun, Ben Tinker, Leyla Santiago and Sara Weisfeldt contributed to this report.

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