In one Los Angeles hospital, five tents are outside, one of which serves as a waiting room.
There are so many patients coming to the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, some are being placed in the gift shop, a chapel or a conference room.
In the past week, nearly 100,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in Los Angeles County, causing problems for other patients.
The CEO of the hospital, dr. Elaine Batchlor, told CNN on Monday: “If we continue to see an increase in the number of Covid patients, we may be forced to do something that we as health workers should all just have a grudge against.”
She talks about rationing. At the moment, these are not matters as usual.
“Our staff has been incredibly skilled and flexible in accommodating increasing numbers of patients, so as you have heard, we have five tents outside the hospital,” Batchlor said. “We have patients in our conference room, in our chapel.”
Many gurneys are taken to the gift shop, she said.
While Batchlor does not specify how many new patients Covid has, the increase in their numbers puts stress on all care.
Batchlor said the hospital would not turn patients away, but possibly use techniques used during the war.
“We use what are called in the battlefield triage techniques, which assess the needs and prognosis of each person and the use of scarce resources in patients who are likely to benefit from it,” she said.
Christina Ghaly, director of health services in LA County, said some hospitals see patients who are still on ambulances.
“The patients are being cared for in the ambulance and treated as if they were part of the Emergency Bay,” Ghaly said.
Barbara Ferrer, director of public health in LA County, said there had been 97,472 new cases in the past seven days. “The sad reality is that all indicators show us that our situation can only get worse if we start in 2021,” she said.
Hospitalizations reach the highest time
According to the Covid Tracking Project, more Americans were hospitalized this week than any other week of the pandemic. And the United States on Monday reported 121,235 hospitalizations in Covid-19, a pandemic highlight.
Six states on Sunday set records for most Covid-19 patients admitted to the hospital: Alabama, California, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. Texas reached an all-time high on Monday.
According to doctors, mass holiday events will lead to even more patients – a big problem because many hospitals are already out of capacity.
“This is really frustrating, because if you look at the data over the last ten days, it has actually started to show signs of light,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine at George Washington University, said.
“Places like the Middle East, with a drop in the number of cases. Even in the Northeast. The U.S. positivity rate has dropped from about 12% to about 10%. These are really tangible signs of a slowdown in the crisis. And now there will almost certainly be another peak. ‘
Why you can not count on a negative test result to see friends and family
And unlike previous holidays, the Christmas-New Year combination spans an entire week.
“We know that after every major holiday there has been an increase in the number of cases,” said Dr. Leana Wen, doctor of emergency medicine, said.
“We saw it after Memorial Day, after Fourth of July, after Labor Day. And the holidays were relatively short compared to Christmas and New Year.”
On top of that, the weather is now much colder – which means more indoor gatherings and increased risk of aerosol dispersal.
Patients are taking up more and more ICU beds
ICUs are often associated with heart attacks and car accidents, but a growing number of ICU beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients.
In the past week, about 40% of all ICU patients in the U.S. have had Covid-19, according to a CNN analysis of data published Monday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It is higher than 16% at the end of September; 22% at the end of October; and 35% at the end of November.
And more hospitalizations necessarily precede more deaths.
The deaths of more than 63,000 Americans have been reported so far this month, according to Johns Hopkins University, the most of any month since the pandemic began.
In just 11 months, more than 334,000 people died from Covid-19. This means that more than 1 in every 1000 Americans died of coronavirus.
And since most Americans are unable to vaccinate until well into next year, the U.S. is experiencing a surge in a “boom” after vacation travel, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health.
New travel requirements come into effect on Monday
As more countries detect the highly contagious coronavirus detection in the UK, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced new testing requirements for travelers arriving from the UK.
The new rules come into effect on Monday. Passengers had to have a negative PCR or antigen test within 72 hours of boarding a UK flight to the US, along with documentation of their laboratory results.
Airline must confirm the test before the flight.
So far, dozens of countries have banned travelers from the UK.
All viruses mutate over time, and the new coronavirus has mutated before. But scientists advising the UK government estimate that this strain could spread up to 70% more effectively than others.
The companies behind the first two vaccines to obtain emergency authorization in the United States – Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna – are testing their vaccines to confirm whether they are effective against the new strain.
The biotechnology company Novavax, which on Monday announced the launch of a Phase 3 trial of its Covid-19 vaccine in the US, said it was also testing the vaccine against the British strain.
It will take weeks for the results, the company said.
The effect of the vaccine is slower than expected
According to the CDC, approximately 2.1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered. More than 11.4 million doses were distributed.
The numbers now include both the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines. And while there is a decline in data reporting, federal officials said earlier that they want to distribute 20 million doses by the end of the year.
Asked about the seemingly slow deployment of vaccines, Fauci said large, comprehensive vaccination programs with a new vaccine start slowly before gaining momentum.
“I’m pretty confident that as we gain more and more momentum, from December to January and then February to March, I believe we will catch up with the projection,” he said.
Dr Esther Choo, a professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, said vaccine distribution ‘is just a very complicated thing’.
“In every step, there is complexity and there is potential for delay, whether it is individual state planning, allocation, training, vaccine supply, storage … there are still so many factors at this stage,” Choo said.
“We need to be prepared for the fact that in many places it will be a slow rollout and that it will not change our behavior or necessarily the trajectory of the pandemic in this country in the short term,” Choo said.
Since vaccines are unlikely to be widely available until the summer, experts have urged Americans not to give up. This means that you continue to wear masks, wash your hands regularly and take social distances.