As Coronavirus Cases Surge, Experts Worry Hospitals May Be Overwhelmed Again

Over the weekend, coronavirus cases continued to surge across the United States, spreading both in states that had already experienced a large number of cases earlier this year as well as states that had previously recorded a low number of infections. And now, the increase in infections and hospitalizations has begun to worry experts that hospitals may soon become overwhelmed yet again. 

Over the weekend, coronavirus cases continued to skyrocket, with only three states showing a decrease in the number of new cases. 

CNN: “Only three US states are reporting a decline in new Covid-19 cases compared to last week, as the country hit its highest daily rate of new cases in almost two months. As of Saturday night, new cases were down in Texas, Missouri and South Carolina, while 21 states reported a rise in cases and a little more than half held steady compared with the week before. Friday, there were 54,506 new reported cases, according to Johns Hopkins University, the highest single day case number since 64,601 cases were reported on August 14.”

New York Times: “Some of the country’s least populous states are now seeing their highest infection rates. When coastal cities suffered in the spring, cases remained relatively scarce across most of the nation’s midsection. But since late summer, North Dakota and South Dakota have added more cases per capita than any other state. Utah recorded 1,387 new cases on Sunday, a single-day record. Four states — Wisconsin, Indiana, Montana and Wyoming — have added more cases in the last week than in any other seven-day stretch of the pandemic.”

Earlier today, Dr. Fauci said that he was “disturbed” by the number of new coronavirus cases in the United States. 

FAUCI: “I am certainly not pleased (or) satisfied, but I’m actually disturbed and concerned about the fact that our baseline of infections is still stuck at around 40,000 per day. … That’s no place to be when you’re trying to get your arms around an epidemic.”

Last week, six states reached record highs for hospitalizations.

CNBC: “Growing coronavirus outbreaks across the American West and Midwest have started to take an alarming turn as some states report growing Covid-19 hospitalizations and a shrinking supply of beds for patients. Six states reached record high Covid-19 hospitalizations, based on a weekly average to smooth out the reporting, as of Friday, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project, an independent volunteer organization launched by journalists at The Atlantic.”

The rise in new cases and hospitalizations in hot spots has begun to worry medical experts that ICU capacity in hospitals may be threatened again. 

Washington Examiner: “Yet, some are seeing hospitalizations increase to the point that hospital capacity may soon be a serious concern. For example, Wisconsin has 1,475 intensive care unit beds, but only 217, about 15%, are available. From early May until mid-September, the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds fluctuated between 65 and 144. It now stands at 208, more than double the number of two weeks ago. About 87% of the 1,222 ICU beds in Minnesota are occupied. Hospitals in the state may soon have to make use of 1,000 surge beds that can be ready for COVID-19 patients in 24 to 72 hours. Minnesota and Wisconsin saw their hospitalizations increase 12% and 34%, respectively, over the last week.”

WISCONSIN – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Some Wisconsin hospitals are resorting to wait-listing patients, or sending them to other facilities, as the state’s coronavirus surge continues to rage. Hospitals have been especially overwhelmed in Green Bay, Wausau and the Fox Valley, which are among the state’s latest COVID-19 hot spots. … The number of people hospitalized in Wisconsin due to the virus reached a new high Tuesday, with 646 coronavirus patients occupying beds across the state, including 205 patients in ICU beds.”

MISSOURI – St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Health officials here, faced with rising COVID-19 case numbers and divided public opinion, are warning that if residents refuse to take precautions, the virus will continue to grow, unchecked, and could tax the local hospital’s capacity to handle patients. In recent weeks, Jefferson County has seen some of the fastest growth of COVID-19 cases in the St. Louis area. Leaders of the county’s only hospital are urging residents to wear masks and avoid large gatherings, especially as flu season arrives. And the local health department is stretched thin as it contends with increasing infections.”