The seven day rolling COVID-19 death toll is rising in 19 states with a record average of 2,631 people dying each day across the United States this past week, data shows.
A graph by the Covid Tracking Project shows hospitals in California are at breaking point, with only 30 intensive care unit beds reported in Los Angeles county Monday; 18,359 people are hospitalized with the virus across the state. Just two months ago, there were a total of 2,291 patients, including 657 in ICU.
The number of people hospitalized across California with confirmed COVID-19 infections is more than double the state’s previous peak, reached in July, and a state model forecasts the total could hit 75,000 patients by mid-January.
Los Angeles County’s health services director, Dr. Christina Ghaly, said plans for rationing care are not in place yet, but they need to be established because ‘the worst is yet to come’.
States including New York, Texas and Delaware are showing rising seven day average death tolls compared with last week. For Delaware they are up 139 per cent; Alabama 58 per cent and California 43 per cent.
The US recorded 1,485 COVID deaths and 178,000 cases on Monday; a record total of 115,351 people are currently hospitalized with the virus.
A graph by the Covid Tracking Project shows 18,359 people are hospitalized with the virus in California
States including New York, Texas and Delaware are showing rising seven day average death tolls compared with last week; for Delaware they are up 139 per cent; Alabama 58 per cent and California 43 per cent
The US recorded 1,485 COVID deaths Monday; a record total of 115,351 people are hospitalized with the virus
California’s overwhelmed hospitals are setting up makeshift extra beds for coronavirus patients, and a handful of facilities in hard-hit Los Angeles County are drawing up emergency plans in case they have to limit how many people receive life-saving care.
While shipments of the vaccine are rolling out to many health care workers and nursing homes across the country, it could be months before the shots are available to the general public. Until then, four hospitals run by Los Angeles County are weighing what to do if they cannot treat everyone because of a shortage of beds or staffers.
A document recently circulated among doctors at the four hospitals proposed that instead of trying to save every life, their goal could shift to saving as many patients as possible — meaning those less likely to survive would not get the same kind of care.
‘Some compromise of standard of care is unavoidable; it is not that an entity, system or locale chooses to limit resources, it is that the resources are clearly not available to provide care in a regular manner,’ said the document obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Many hospitals in California already have implemented emergency procedures to stretch staff and space.
Corona Regional Medical Center southeast of Los Angeles has converted an old emergency room to handle nearly double the usual number of ICU patients. It’s also using two disaster tents to triage ER patients.
Overall, the state’s ICU capacity was just 2.1% on Sunday. Some hospitals have canceled non-essential elective surgeries, such as hip replacements, that might take up beds that could soon be needed for COVID-19 patients.
Nurses say the crush of cases means they have less time to spend with patients, many of whom are sicker than they have ever been.
‘The more patients we have, the more there’s a risk of making a mistake, especially if we’re rushing,’ said Wendy Macedo. a nurse at UCLA Health Santa Monica Medical Center. ‘Obviously we’re trying to avoid that, but we’re only human.’
Dr. Rafik Abdou checks on a COVID-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles last month
A medical tent outside the emergency room at UCI Medical Center in Irvine last week. Los Angeles County’s health services director, Dr. Christina Ghaly, said plans for rationing care need to be established because ‘the worst is yet to come’
Engineers and volunteers stand outside a mobile field hospital at UCI Medical Center, Monday. The number of people hospitalized across California with confirmed COVID-19 infections is more than double the state’s previous peak, reached in July, and a state model forecasts the total could hit 75,000 patients by mid-January
: An incoming patient sits in a triage tent set up outside Providence St. Mary Medical Center amid a surge in COVID-19 patients in Southern California last week
California has recorded a half-million coronavirus cases in the last two weeks and in a month could be facing a once-unthinkable caseload of nearly 100,000 hospitalizations, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s top health official said Monday.
Dr. Mark Ghaly said it’s feared entire areas of the state may run out of room even in their makeshift ‘surge’ capacity units ‘by the end of the month and early in January.’
All of Southern California and the 12-county San Joaquin Valley to the north have been out of regular ICU capacity for days.
The state is averaging almost 44,000 newly confirmed cases a day and has recorded 525,000 in the last two weeks. It’s estimated 12% those who test positive end up in the hospital. That means 63,000 hospitalizations from the last 14 days of cases. The current figure is 17,190.
The explosion of cases in the last six weeks has California´s death toll climbing. Another 83 fatalities reported Sunday raised the total to 22,676, though Newsom cautioned the daily figure was likely too low because of a normal weekend reporting lag. The state has averaged 233 deaths each day for the last 14 days.
CVS and rival Walgreens started providing shots last week at some long-term care locations in Connecticut and Ohio, and both companies said they would expand their programs in 12 states starting this week. Those states include Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon and Vermont, CVS Health said Monday.
CVS plans to make three visits to each site to give residents and staff their initial shot and then a booster. It expects to complete the program in about three months.
Also Monday, President-elect Joe Biden received his first dose of the vaccine on live television as part of a growing effort to convince the American public the inoculations are safe.
Biden took a dose of Pfizer vaccine at a hospital not far from his Delaware home, hours after his wife, Jill Biden, did the same. The injections came the same day that a second vaccine, produced by Moderna, will start arriving in states. It joins Pfizer’s in the nation’s arsenal against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now killed more than 317,000 people in the United States and upended life around the globe.
But with vaccinations in limited supply until spring or summer, political leaders continue to urge people to stay at home and wear masks.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked airlines flying into his state from the United Kingdom to make all passengers take a coronavirus test before they get on board. At least one airline, British Airways, has agreed, the Democrat said.
Cuomo wants the U.S. government to temporarily halt flights from the U.K. because of the emergence of a new strain of the virus in that country.
Scientists are working to determine whether the strain spreads more easily, said Moncef Slaoui, the chief science adviser for the U.S. government’s COVID-19 vaccine effort.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Sunday announced new social gathering restrictions while still refusing to implement a mask mandate despite pleas from front-line health care workers. Tennessee, one of a dozen states without a mask mandate, is experiencing the highest new cases per capita in the country.
Instead of a mask mandate, the Republican signed an executive order limiting public gatherings to 10 people. However, places of worship, weddings and funerals are exempt.
With more than 2,300 virus patients hospitalized in Alabama and cases increasing steadily, health officials issued new pleas to take precautions.
‘Our ICU is full and I am praying for a Christmas miracle,’ Dr. James Boyle, a pulmonologist in Decatur, said Monday. ‘I hope the forecasts models are wrong. I pray the numbers of infection and death go down after Christmas.’
The sobering figures across the US came on the same day the House easily passed a $900 billion pandemic relief package Monday night that would finally deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and resources to vaccinate the nation.
Lawmakers tacked on a $1.4 trillion catchall spending bill and thousands of pages of other end-of-session business in a massive bundle of bipartisan legislation as Capitol Hill prepared to close the books on the year.
The lopsided 359-53 vote was a bipartisan coda to months of partisanship and politicking as lawmakers wrangled over the relief question, a logjam that broke after President-elect Joe Biden urged his party to accept a compromise with top Republicans that is smaller than many Democrats would have liked.
The bill combines coronavirus-fighting funds with financial relief for individuals and businesses. It would establish a temporary $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and a $600 direct stimulus payment to most Americans, along with a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses, restaurants, and theaters and money for schools, health care providers and renters facing eviction.
On direct payments, the bill provides $600 to individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $1,200 to couples making up to $150,000, with payments phased out for higher incomes. An additional $600 payment will be made per dependent child, similar to the last round of relief payments in the spring.
The $300 per week bonus jobless benefit was half the supplemental federal unemployment benefit provided under the $1.8 billion CARES Act in March. That more generous benefit and would be limited to 11 weeks instead of 16 weeks. The direct $600 stimulus payment was also half the March payment.
The CARES Act was credited with keeping the economy from falling off a cliff during widespread lockdowns in the spring, but Republicans controlling the Senate cited debt concerns in pushing against Democratic demands.
The sweeping bill also contains $25 billion in rental assistance, $15 billion for theaters and other live venues, $82 billion for local schools, colleges and universities, and $10 billion for child care.