US Coronavirus: ‘These are the darkest days of the pandemic,’ says Louisiana hospital administrator as state battles increase in cases
Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Catherine O’Neal said there were 23 names on the list of those waiting for a spot to open in the intensive care unit.
“You have people with chest pain sitting in an emergency room right now while their families are sitting in the waiting room, and they’re wringing their hands, and calling everyone they know.” , to enter an intensive care unit, O’Neal said at a press briefing Monday.
Just over two weeks ago, Baton Rouge hospital had 36 patients with Covid-19, O’Neal said. That number is now 155.
“No diagnosis should occupy a quarter of your hospital,” O’Neal said. “We no longer think we are providing adequate care to anyone, as these are the darkest days of the pandemic.”
O’Neal said the best way to slow the spread of Covid-19 is with vaccination, but it’s not happening fast enough, so people should wear masks as well.
Louisiana is one of five states – along with Florida, Texas, California and Missouri – that account for nearly half of the new cases reported last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. As the more transmissible Delta variant spreads and cases increase, hospitals are filling again with Covid-19 patients across the country. In many cases, patients are younger and sicker than before, according to doctors.
The seven-day average of new daily coronavirus cases increased by more than 40% from the previous week, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr Rochelle Walensky said on Monday.
“While we desperately want to end this pandemic, Covid-19 is clearly not done with us. And so our battle has to go on a little longer,” Walensky said.
With vaccination rates on the rise but still below what they need to be to slow or stop the spread of the virus, many local leaders are turning to masks to protect their populations.
This guidance covers more than 90% of the U.S. population – roughly 300 million people, according to a CNN analysis of the data released by the CDC on Monday.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has temporarily reinstated the state’s mask mandate for all people ages 5 and older, vaccinated and unvaccinated, when indoors and in public. The mandate comes into effect Wednesday.
“No one should mistakenly believe this is just another push. We’ve had three already, it’s the worst we’ve had so far,” said Edwards.
State health official Dr Joseph Kanter said he expected Louisiana to reach its highest number of Covid-19 hospital patients on Tuesday at any time during the pandemic.
“If we intend to prioritize things that are important to us, like keeping our kids in school and in person, and keeping our economy growing by keeping businesses open, masking is the best way to So please take this masking order seriously, both in your personal and professional life, ”Kanter said.
Fauci: Revolutionary infections are not as alarming as they seem
Reports of infections among those vaccinated, known as breakthrough infections, have caused some concern among the public, but experts say they are not as alarming as they appear.
“Vaccines do exactly what we ask them to do when it comes to preventing you from being hospitalized, contracting serious illness and certainly preventing your death,” said Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. Diseases, said Monday during a White House response briefing to Covid-19.
The vaccines reduce the number of people with the disease by eight times and cut hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 by 25 times, Fauci said.
“An important point to make is that the higher the percentage of people vaccinated, even with a high degree of protection, the absolute number of infections per breakthrough may seem high. This is not the critical number. The critical number is. what is the proportion of the vaccinated, of the people who… contract revolutionary infections, and that is the most critical, ”added Fauci.
“During the summer, some towns in Barnstable County can accommodate up to 240,000 visitors per month,” Walensky noted.
Some of these people will be infected even if they are vaccinated, Fauci said.
“You can expect breakthrough infections,” he said. “Most of these infections will be asymptomatic or mild,” he added.
“The gist of what we’re saying is… Get vaccinated. I say it every time,” Fauci said.
US hits vaccination target one month late
Although it happened later than the administration intended, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said taking this step was still an important milestone.
“It will help protect communities. It will help protect families and save more lives. But we have said from the start, even if we set this goal, our job would not be done even when we achieve it. And so we are moving forward, ”she continued.
The CDC reported on Sunday that an additional 816,203 doses had been administered, the fifth day in a row the agency recorded more than 700,000 shots. The current seven-day average of doses administered is 662,529 per day, the highest average since July 7.
CNN’s Rebekah Riess, Deidre McPhillips, Maggie Fox, Ralph Ellis and Theresa Waldrop contributed to this report.