With coronavirus infection rates remaining stubbornly high, more than 24,000 Americans are currently hospitalized in intensive care units with Covid-19, leaving little capacity for new admittances in several states.
Idaho has the nation’s highest rate of Covid-19 ICU usage, with 60.8% of that state’s ICU beds occupied by coronavirus patients — more than 93% of Idaho’s ICU beds are in use overall, forcing state officials on Thursday to activate “crisis standards of care” and give hospitals the power to prioritize which patients receive medical treatment.
More than 45% of ICU beds are devoted to treating Covid-19 patients in Texas (47.9%), Alabama (47.4%) and Mississippi (45.5%) — Alabama also has the country’s worst overall ICU crunch, with about 100% of ICU beds occupied, according to HHS.
Seven other states have coronavirus patients in more than 40% of their ICU beds: Kentucky (44.7%), Montana (44.4%), West Virginia (43.7%), Tennessee (43.6%), Oklahoma (40.7%), Arkansas (40.5%) and South Carolina (40.3%).
Fewer than 20% of ICU beds are taken up by Covid-19 patients in 11 states, most of which have low infection rates and high vaccination rates. Coronavirus patients are using just 7.8% of ICU beds in New Jersey, and rates are low in Connecticut (9.4%), New Hampshire (9.5%), Vermont (11.3%), New York (12.3%), Massachusetts (13.6%), Illinois (15%), Michigan (17%), Pennsylvania (17.2%), Rhode Island (17.9%) and Maryland (19.1%).
142,736. That’s how many new Covid-19 infections were diagnosed in the United States on average every day over the last week, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data updated Thursday. It’s a slight dip from the nearly 160,000 per day reported two weeks ago, but still well above June levels, when the coronavirus’ new delta variant was beginning to take root and fewer than 12,000 new Americans contracted Covid-19 per day.
Coronavirus cases began spiking nationwide in July, ending a brief summer respite from the virus, and infections and hospitalizations have remained fairly high. Most health experts blame the delta variant — which is more contagious than previous forms of the coronavirus — for this uptick, but some areas have also struggled with low vaccination uptake, with several states still reporting partial vaccination rates of around 50% or less. Health officials have responded by compelling more people to get inoculated, citing data indicating that vaccinated Americans are 10 times less likely to end up in the hospital with Covid-19 and 11 times less likely to die than their unvaccinated counterparts.
With Covid-19 hospitalizations high, the Biden administration has limited states’ access to monoclonal antibody therapies and shifted to allocating doses based on states’ case and usage levels, aiming to stave off shortages of the key Covid-19 treatments.