Omicron and Hospitals: Mild Doesn’t Mean Minor

The true threat of Omicron can be hard for researchers and doctors to communicate. 

  • There’s increasingly hopeful news, like a new preprint study which finds that Omicron patients at Kaiser Permanente Southern California were 74% less likely to end up in ICUs and 91% less likely to die than Delta patients, CNBC reports. 
  • Yet the crisis at hospitals is growing. More Americans are now hospitalized with COVID-19 than at any point in the pandemic. 4 states have fewer than 10% of ICU beds left, CNN reports.
  • And even if some of the cases contributing to the surge are “incidental” (a flawed term, writes Ed Yong at The Atlantic), that does not alleviate the actual burden at understaffed facilities. 


The Quote: “If you’re 90 percent full and you suddenly have 10 percent more patients, I don’t care if it’s half COVID, all COVID, incidental COVID—it just matters that you’re full,” said Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician in Massachusetts. 
 

Related:

Omicron is creating a 'crisis, red-tier situation' in health care – NBC

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