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Record number of Americans are hospitalized with COVID-19, hospitals struggle to give care to all

Virus Outbreak US Surge
Posted at 6:05 AM, Dec 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-29 08:05:43-05

More Americans are hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms now than at any other point during the pandemic, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

On Monday, the data tracking group reported 121,235 patients in this country were hospitalized with the coronavirus.

Hospitals around the country have felt the strain for weeks, as patients have been treated in hallways, gift shops, parking lots, ambulances, and mobile field units. Medical facilities are also struggling with staffing shortages to treat all of these patients.

"When you run out of capacity, physicians and bioethicists in these hospitals will need to decide which patients are salvageable -- potentially salvageable -- and which patients aren't," Dr. Jonathan Reiner explained to CNN.

Not only the number of Americans in the hospital is climbing, so is the percentage of those needing the most specialized care in Intensive Care Units.

ICU coronavirus patients have increased from around 16% of those hospitalized in September to around 40% last week, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Almost one in five hospitals in the U.S. reported their ICUs were at least 95% full last week.

Health experts are worried about a potential surge following the Christmas holiday. The TSA said record numbers of passengers went through security checkpoints around the holiday last week. The increased travel to see relatives who are not part of a person’s household can increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.