American Coronavirus: Finding a Covid-19 test is a struggle right now in the United States as Omicron and vacation plans collide
With millions of people traveling or planning to join large family reunions, there is a rush to get tested – and many people are unlucky either to get rapid tests at clinics, to get tested. or to buy home test kits.
Long lines were seen in New York, Boston and Miami on Tuesday, as well as Ohio and Minnesota.
Demand will only grow, said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
âWe have testing. But what we’ll need, I think, over the next two to eight weeks is going to be remarkable. We’re going to see this big increase nationwide,â he predicted.
âI think we’re going to see all 50 states in the soup at around the same time. And so the testing needs are going to increase dramatically,â Osterholm said.
“What has happened is that we have seen, with the tremendous spread of Omicron, a sharp increase in the demand for testing, and we have to keep pace,” US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said on Tuesday. . “I certainly feel for people who aren’t able to find tests as easily as they want.”
A former deputy secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services is concerned that the administration’s commitment to testing will meet demand, he said.
“Unless we have a billion or 2 billion a month, I think we will always have to be selective to make sure that we are preventing the people who may die from the disease from dying from the disease,” the admiral said. Dr Brett Giroir. told CNN.
Covid-19 cases in the United States are on the rise: the country has recorded an average of more than 148,000 new cases per day over the past week, 23% more than a week ago and back to the levels last seen in mid-September, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
More than 69,700 Covid-19 patients were in US hospitals as of Wednesday – a number that has tended to increase since it fell to around 45,000 on November 8, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services .
The United States has recorded an average of 1,324 Covid-19 deaths per day over the past week, 11% more than a week earlier, according to Johns Hopkins.
Hospital beds are scarce in some parts of the country
The increase in the number of cases has also resulted in a shortage of hospital beds in some pockets of the country.
In Delaware, the ChristianaCare Hospital is operating at more than 100% of its capacity, often reaching 110 to 115%, said its president, Sharon Kurfuerst.
âThere are patients receiving care in the hallways because that’s the only place we have to put them in the emergency room right now,â she said.
Many people who have delayed treatment for almost two years for health issues unrelated to Covid-19 are currently in need of medical attention, Kurfuerst added.
âThis, made worse by the number of Covid patients we see today, is really straining our health system and our resources,â she said.
“We need your help,” read the ad. âWe now have more COVID-19 patients in our hospitals than ever before. And the overwhelming majority are not vaccinated. “
Murthy, the surgeon general, reminded people that those who have already been infected with Covid-19 and are not vaccinated are not fully protected against Omicron.
“It’s not enough to be able to come to a family reunion and say, ‘It’s as good as being vaccinated,'” Murthy told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “So if you are not vaccinated, it is more urgent than ever to get vaccinated. If you are vaccinated, please get a boost.”
In Israel, people eligible for the fourth dose can receive it if at least four months have passed since the third dose, the country’s prime minister’s office said. Almost every citizen vaccinated in this country has received the Pfizer / BioNTech mRNA vaccine.
As to whether the United States could possibly switch to a fourth dose, CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky told CNN this:
“Certainly when we see the science, we will consider that we absolutely consider it,” she said on “AC360” on Tuesday. “Right now we’re working to make sure our vaccinated people get (a) booster – we really want to make sure people get a boost.”
Local authorities impose new rules to tackle surges
Some local officials are again imposing new regulations to curb the spread of the virus.
In Chicago, customers of most businesses that serve food or drink must show proof of vaccination starting Jan. 3, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. The measure will apply to all customers over 5 years of age in restaurants, bars, gymnasiums, theaters and other entertainment and sports venues that serve food and drink.
âThe unvaccinated affects the health, well-being and livelihoods of everyone else,â Lightfoot said. “To control the spread, we need to limit the risk.”
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has also decided to reinstate the city’s indoor mask mandate, while the Massachusetts Department of Public Health recommends that all residents wear a mask indoors when they are are not at home, regardless of their immunization status, officials said on Tuesday.
Covid-19 isolation period could be reduced
âFor example, if you get a healthcare worker who is infected and without any symptoms, you don’t want to keep that person unemployed for too longâ¦ especially if we have a run on hospital beds and the need for it. health workers, âsaid Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The isolation period is also affecting airline staff, prompting Delta Air Lines officials to ask the CDC to reduce the period to five days as Christmas approaches – adding that more than 90% of its workforce are vaccinated.
Authorities are carrying out an analysis to determine whether it is safe to shorten the period of isolation, Murthy said.
CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Amanda Sealy, Jason Hanna, Oren Liebermann, Artemis Moshtaghian, Jennifer Henderson, Pervaiz Shallwani, Mark Morales, Pete Muntean and Naomi Thomas contributed to this report.