US hospitalizations related to Covid-19 are up 29% in the last 14 days, according to a New York Times Analysis of Department of Health and Human Services data suggesting a new Covid-19 surge may be underway after a pause of around three months.
Forty-seven states reported increases in Covid-19 hospitalizations, with the largest increases being seen in Wyoming, where hospitalizations increased 141%, New Mexico, where they increased 114%, and Louisiana, where they increased 94% .
This nationwide increase in hospital admissions has been accompanied by a dramatic 31% increase in average seven-day infection rates and a 10% increase in Covid-19 deaths.
The rise in hospitalizations for Covid-19 has been strongly associated with increases in Covid-19 transmission – 83% of states with increases in hospitalization rates above the national average also reported above-average increases in infection rates.
Steep increases in hospitalizations were slightly more likely in states with low immunization rates — 13 of the 25 states with above-average increases in hospitalizations reported full Covid-19 immunization below the national average of 67%, including Wyoming, Mississippi and Louisiana.
Covid-19 cases typically spike after a four- to six-month pause as natural immunity to previous infections wanes, said the Trump administration’s former pandemic response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx told Face the nation earlier this month.
Hospitalizations related to Covid-19 were flat in Alaska and fell 1% in Rhode Island and 2% in Maine. These states reported immunization rates well above the national average, with the exception of Alaska, which reported a 63% immunization rate.
What to look out for
Birx warned the public to prepare for a Covid-19 surge this summer, which she predicted would hit the Southern states hardest. This prediction agrees with the new york times’ Analysis of data from the past 14 days showing above-average increases in infection rates in 14 of the 16 southern states. The only exceptions were Mississippi and Oklahoma, which reported increases in infection rates of 27% and 3%, respectively, compared to a national average of 31%.
The Omicron variant, which is more transmissible but less serious than previous variants, has increased infection rates without causing a proportionate increase in deaths or other serious outcomes. Although both infections and deaths have increased over the past two weeks, the increase in deaths has been about a third of the increase in infections. In addition, there is usually a time lag between the reporting of infections and deaths and other serious consequences, although increases in infections and deaths reported at the same time are not necessarily directly linked. Not all of the effects of the disease are well understood: researchers are still studying how Covid-19 damages the brain and inhibits odor, as well as the mechanism behind the long-term symptoms, which affect around 1 in 5 adult survivors of the disease. Even if vaccines cannot prevent Covid-19 infection, they offer protection against serious consequences. According to a study published on Wednesday by naturopathyvaccination reduced the risk of death in Covid-19 patients by 34% and the risk of lung disease by 49%.
“Ex-Trump adviser Birx warns of Summer Covid ‘Surge'” (Forbes)