Omicron Overloads Hospitals

While Omicron may require less hospitalization among those it infects, its extreme transmissibility is still posing a critical threat to US hospitals.

Even if a smaller proportion of people need to be hospitalized, absolute numbers are enough to flood an already-eroded health system struggling with labor and supply shortages. 

  • Oversaturated hospitals mean long ER wait times and delayed treatments. 
  • Burnt-out health care workers with “faltering resolve and thinning ranks” are more overworked than ever, unable to provide their normal standard of care. 


The result: This translates to potentially dire outcomes for all patients—those with COVID-19 or not. As Ed Yong writes for The Atlantic: “COVID’s burden is additive.” 

  • “It might be less of a threat to individual people, but it’s disastrous for the health-care system that those individuals will ultimately need,” writes Yong.


And the number of hospitalized Americans with COVID-19 is nearing a pandemic high.

“We went from a place where virtually no county in the country was at risk of exceeding its capacity to well over half are now,” Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told ABC News. “I don’t like to make predictions, but things could get very bad in the coming couple of weeks.”


Related: 

Citing rise in hospitalized kids, CDC chief urges more COVID vaccination – CIDRAP

A Surge in Hospitalized Young Children Infected With the Coronavirus – The New York Times

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