America has passed another grim Covid-19 milestone, as data shows that one in 500 people living in the US have died from the virus since the pandemic began.
Amper 664,000 people had died of the virus in the US by Tuesday evening, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, following a surge of cases and hospitalizations, particularly in southern states, caused by a combination of the Delta variant and low vaccination rates.
About one in four US hospitals have intensive care units that are at least 95 percent full, according to the New York Times.
Christina Salazar, a registered nurse in an Orlando, Florida, hospital where patients have been stalled in the emergency room, was recently diagnosed with compassion fatigue. The mental health problem occurs when providers take on the stress or trauma of their patients.
She is not alone at AdventHealth Altamonte Springs hospital, which until recently did not have enough inpatient beds and canceled non-emergency surgeries because of a surge in Covid-19 cases. She said many of her colleagues have called in sick recently.
“We’re given incentives to come into work and not call out or take time off but it’s not always worth your mental health,” Salazar told the Guardian in a text message. She works in the progressive care unit and has been a nurse for just one year.
The strain on the Florida hospital and its staff is not unique, particularly among southern states. In Alabama, only 40% of the state has been vaccinated and there are no available beds in intensive care units, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Staff at Cullman Regional Medical Center, located 50 miles north of Birmingham, Alabama, geroep 43 hospitals in three states to find a cardiac ICU bed for Ray DeMonia, a 73-year-old who spent most of his life in the antiques and auctions business, according to his doodsberig.
The staff finally found a bed 200 miles away from Cullman, in Meridian, Mississippi, and DeMonia was airlifted there. Hy sterf op 1 September.
“In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non Covid related emergencies,” his family wrote in the obituary.
Dr Scott Harris, head of the Alabama Department of Public Health, told the Associated Press last week that the state faces a “real crisis” because of an overwhelming number of patients who are not vaccinated and needing intensive care.
“Our biggest concerns are our low vaccination rates,” Harris told the New York Times. “That’s the reason we’re in the situation that we’re in. Virtually all of our deaths are people who are unvaccinated.”
The problem is not limited to the south. Southern Ohio Medical Center, located about 80 miles south of Columbus, gepos a statement on Facebook on 11 September alerting the community that its ICU was at capacity and that it may not have enough beds available for people with chest pains, who have suffered a stroke or been in a car accident.
“Like many hospitals, including others in our region, we are being stretched to the breaking point,” read the statement, which also included a plea for people to get vaccinated, wear masks and socially distance.
States with mask mandates and vaccination rates higher than Alabama’s are also feeling ripple effects from states where people have not taken as many precautions against Covid.
For example, hospitals in Washington state, where more than 60% percent of the population is vaccinated, has taken in patients from neighboring Idaho, where the vaccination rate is only 40%. Even without patients from Idaho, Washington hospitals were already delaying some procedures because of an increase in Covid cases, the New York Times berig.
“We certainly need our friends in Idaho government to do more to preserve their citizens’ health, because we know that their crisis is becoming our problem,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, gesê. “I’m asking the people of Idaho to adopt some of the safety measures – like masking requirements – like we have in Washington, so we can help both of our states reduce this horrible pandemic.”
In Florida, the number of new Covid cases dropped for a second week in a row, the state Department of Health berig aan 10 September.
That’s welcome news to Salazar, who has seen patients suffer at her hospital. The Orlando Sentinel berig that a 41-year-old who had chest pain after a recent open-heart surgery spent seven hours in a wheelchair outside in 90-degree heat to avoid a crowded waiting room filled with patients who had Covid-19 symptoms. He was unable to get the pain medication he said he needed.
“It’s stressful because I’m sitting here, I’m in pain,” Harris told the Sentinel. “If you’re in pain, you’re not going to get any pain medication [while waiting to be seen]. Doctors’ hands are tied, people are upset with the doctors, but it’s the law of the hospital … they’re doing their best.”
Salazar works to keep patients calm, which she stated is particularly important among people with Covid, who often have difficulty breathing.
“I think it’s becoming all about patience with each other,” said Salazar, who received the Pfizer vaccine and plans to get a booster shot in October. “It’s what we need more than ever.”