With millions traveling or planning large family gatherings, there is an urgency to get tested – and many are running out of luck to get quick tests at hospitals or to buy test kits at home.
Long queues were seen Tuesday in New York City, Boston and Miami, Ohio and Minnesota.
Michael Asterholm, director of the Center for Epidemiological Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said demand is only going to grow.
“We have some trials. But I think what we need in the next two to eight weeks will be significant. We are going to see this big upsurge nationwide,” he predicted.
“I think we’ve going to see all 50 states in the soup at once. So, the test requirements will be very high,” Osterholm said.
“What has happened is that with the huge spread of Omigran, we have seen a huge surge in the need for testing, and we need to continue,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said Tuesday. “I definitely feel for people who can’t easily find the trials they want.”
The former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expressed concern that the administration’s pledge on the tests would not be met.
“If we do not have a billion or 2 billion a month, I think we should still be selective in preventing people from dying from the disease,” he said. Brett Giorgio told CNN.
Covid-19 cases are on the rise in the United States: According to Johns Hopkins University data, there were an average of 148,000 new cases per day in the past week, 23% higher than a week ago, and the last levels seen in mid-September.
More than 69,700 Govt-19 patients were in US hospitals on Wednesday – up from a low of about 45,000 on Nov. 8, according to Department of Health and Human Services data.
According to Johns Hopkins, there were an average of 1,324 Govt-19 deaths per day in the last week, 11% more than a week earlier.
Hospital beds are in short supply in some parts of the country
The increase in cases has led to a shortage of hospital beds in the pockets of the country.
In Delaware, Christiancare Hospital operates above 100% capacity, often reaching 110% to 115%, said its chairman Sharon Kurfirst.
“Patients are being treated in the hallways because this is the only place we have to put them in the emergency department right now,” he said.
Many who have delayed treatment for nearly two years for non-Govt-19 health problems now require medical attention, Kurfirst added.
“It really hurts our health system and resources because of the number of Govt patients we see today,” he said.
“We need your help,” the ad read. “Our hospitals now have more COVID-19 patients than ever before, and the vast majority are unvaccinated.”
Murthy, the Surgeon General, reminded people that those who have previously been infected with Govt-19 and have not been vaccinated are not fully protected from Omigran.
“It’s not enough to come to a family meeting and say, ‘This is as good as the vaccine,'” Murthy told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “So, if you’ve not vaccinated, vaccination is more urgent than ever. If you’ve been vaccinated, please be encouraged.”
In Israel, those eligible for the fourth dose can receive it at least four months after the third dose, according to the country’s Prime Minister’s Office. All citizens who have been vaccinated in that country have received the Pfizer / BioNTech mRNA vaccine.
On whether the US can finally go for a fourth dose, the CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CNN:
“Of course when we look at science, we explore how we can fully consider it,” he told AC360 on Tuesday. “Right now, we’re working to ensure that vaccinated people get a booster – we want to make sure people are motivated.”
Local authorities are imposing new rules against the uprising
Some local authorities are again imposing new regulations to prevent the spread of the virus.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfood said customers at most businesses that serve food or beverages must show proof of vaccination starting Jan. 3. The measure applies to all customers over the age of 5 in restaurants, bars, gyms, theaters and other entertainment and sports venues that serve food and beverages.
“Those who are not vaccinated affect the health, well-being and livelihood of all of us,” Lightfood said. “To control the spread, we must reduce the risk.”
Atlanta Mayor Geisha Lance Bottoms has moved to re-establish the city’s indoor mask order, while the Massachusetts Department of Public Health recommends that all residents wear the mask indoors regardless of vaccination status when they are not in their own homes, officials said Tuesday.
The isolation period of Covit-19 may be reduced
“For example, if you find a health worker who has no infection and no symptoms, you do not want that person to be overworked … especially if we run to the hospital beds. For health workers,” said Fassi, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The isolation period also affects flight attendants, with Delta Airlines officials urging the CDC to reduce the time to five days as Christmas approaches – with more than 90% of its staff vaccinated.
Authorities are analyzing whether it is safe to reduce the isolation period, 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.
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