Omicron Surge Pushing Health Care System to Limit
Jan. 14, 2022 — The U.S. fitness care enterprise changed into already stretched skinny through years of the COVID-19 pandemic while the Omicron version struck. As “It has exploded. We’re in a crisis, red-tier state of affairs again,” Denise Duncan, a registered nurse and president of the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals, instructed NBC News.
Hospitals fill with sufferers again, professionals and employees say harm to the enterprise can be lengthy-lasting.
Doctors and different fitness care specialists are overworked and always face the danger of inflaming themselves. Some are quitting or converting their jobs, inflicting staffing shortages in already overburdened clinical facilities.
“Everyone is quitting, the nurses especially, and quite a few docs are retiring,” a Pennsylvania medical doctor who requested now no longer to be named instructed NBC News. “I’m going returned into fellowship due to the fact as a hospitalist the whole lot is your duty and while sufferers are available in and also you do the whole lot, and that they nonetheless die, it’s irritating after which you need to explain to families.”
A report 1.34 million COVID instances had been stated withinside the United States on Monday, and the seven-day each day
joint changed into greater than 740,000. Twenty-4 states stated report seven-day each day averages, NBC News said. Hospitalizations have long gone up with the case counts.
The fitness care gadget changed beneath neath stress even earlier than the Omicron surge. An October 2020 file from the facts intelligence business enterprise Morning Consult stated that 18% of fitness care employees gave up their jobs through the pandemic, and every 12% had been laid off. Among employees who saved their jobs, 31% had considered leaving.
“Massive clinician turnover, lengthy recruitment cycles, and growing enterprise opposition for expertise are crippling acquisition and retention with inside the fitness care workforce,” the studies company Forrester stated in its “Predictions 2022: Healthcare” file, NBC News said. “These boundaries can be intensified through restrained Covid-19 vaccine uptake in positive populations, unrelenting post-stressful stress, and a team of workers burnout.”
NBC News stated that some hospitals provide threat pay to draw employees or turn to travel nurses or nurses from overseas. The Pennsylvania physician said he knew docs offered $325 an hour to paintings in beaten facilities.
But paying employees more excellent cuts into hospitals’ backside line. The Forrester file stated that 1/2 of hospitals might want poor margins through 2021.
The CDC anticipated this week that extra than 62,000 humans may want to die from COVID-19 in the following month because of today’s surge in cases.
Between 36,000 to 62,000 extra coronavirus deaths will be mentioned in the following four weeks, with 10,000 to 31,000 new deaths mentioned withinside the week finishing Feb. 5.
“This week’s countrywide ensemble predicts that the quantity of newly mentioned COVID-19 deaths will possibly boom over the following four weeks,” the CDC stated in a forecast up to date Wednesday.
State- and territory-degree forecasts expect that the quantity of newly mentioned deaths will boom in 31 jurisdictions over the following month. In total, 23 modeling businesses contributed to the CDC’s “ensemble” forecast this week.
The countrywide forecast also suggests that 18,000 to 48,000 new hospitalizations will possibly be mentioned on Feb. 4.
The cutting-edge seven-day joint responsible health facility admissions are ready 20,000 in keeping with day, a boom of approximately 33% over the preceding week. On Friday, extra than 157,000 humans were hospitalized with COVID-19 throughout the country, keeping with today’s facts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The U.S. mentioned extra than 1,900 new deaths on Thursday and an additional than 12,000 in the course of the beyond a week, keeping with today’s facts from Johns Hopkins University. Since the pandemic’s start, extra than 848,000 humans withinside the U.S. have died from COVID-19.
Public fitness officers are nevertheless looking at how the cutting-edge wave of Omicron variation infections will affect hospitalizations and deaths, in conjunction with the Delta variation.
“While we’re seeing early proof that Omicron is much less intense than Delta and that the ones inflamed are much less possibly to require hospitalization, it’s essential to observe that Omicron is still a lot extra transmissible than Delta,” Rochelle Walensky, MD, the CDC director, stated in the course of an information briefing on Wednesday.
The seven-day common of COVID-19 deaths is ready 1 six hundred in keeping with day, a boom of approximately 40% over the preceding week. Most of these are possible because of the Delta variation, she stated.
“We have seen…the dying fees are down from Omicron approximately 91%. And we can want to observe the deaths of the ones over the following couple of weeks to look at the effect of Omicron on mortality,” she stated. “Given the sheer quantity of cases, we might also additionally see deaths from Omicron. But I suspect the deaths that we’re seeing now are nevertheless from Delta.”
Americans could be capable of ordering free, at-domestic speedy COVID-19 checks online at COVIDTests.gov beginning Jan. 19.
The checks will deliver within 7 to twelve days after being ordered, senior officers from President Joe Biden’s management stated Friday. The U.S. Postal Service will cope with the transport and shipping via excellent mail.
People will enter their call and mailing deal at the internet site and may percentage an e-mail deal to get hold of updates at the order, in step with NPR. People won’t want to pay transport fees or input a credit score card quantity to reserve checks, in step with the internet site’s homepage.
The internet site could be provided in each English and Spanish. The Biden management can even installation a telecall smartphone quantity, so the ones without net get right of entry to can area orders.
Officials didn’t percentage a selected time that the internet site will open, in step with The New York Times — really that it’s going to cross stay someday on Wednesday. Each family could be constrained to ordering four checks.
On Saturday, humans with personal coverage can also be capable of are seeking compensation for checks they buy on their own. At the same time, a few insurers have stated it may take weeks to install a machine for easy payment, the newspaper reported.
Friday’s declaration is the contemporary step withinside the president’s pledge to get coronavirus checks to Americans.
In December, Biden stated his management could buy 500 million reviews and distribute them to Americans for free. He introduced that the administration could purchase some other 500 million checks on Thursday, reading how bringing at least one billion.
So far, the management has signed contracts to provide 420 million checks, the newspaper reported. With the internet site commencing subsequent week and the lag in transport, the checks will possibly arrive through the quit of January on the earliest, which might be after the height of the current coronavirus surge in a few elements of the country.
At-domestic checks were in excessive demand, with a few pharmacies, retailers, and websites reporting no inventory in the latest weeks. People have coated up at network checking out websites for hours to get examined because the countrywide common of each day instances has climbed above 800,000 this week.
Some purchasers have also been burdened approximately how to apply at-domestic checks. On Friday, Biden management officers stated that humans need to use quick reviews for three reasons:
if they start to revel in COVID-19 symptoms
while it’s been five or greater days after being uncovered to a person who checks positive
if they may be amassing interior with an excessive-chance individual and need to test if they may be harmful.
Omicron Surge Pushing U.S. Health Care System to the Limit
Jan. 13, 6:25 p.m.
The U.S. health care industry was already stretched thin by two years of the COVID-19 pandemic when the Omicron variant struck. As hospitals fill with patients again, experts and workers say damage to the industry may be long-lasting.
“It has exploded. We’re in a crisis, the red-tier situation again,” Denise Duncan, a registered nurse and president of the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals told NBC News.
Doctors and other health care professionals are overworked and continually face the threat of being infected themselves. Some are quitting or changing their jobs, causing staffing shortages in already overburdened medical facilities.
“Everyone is quitting, the nurses especially, and a lot of doctors are retiring,” a Pennsylvania physician who asked not to be named told NBC News. “I’m going back into fellowship because as a hospitalist, everything is your responsibility and when patients come in, and you do everything, and they still die, it’s frustrating, and then you have to explain to families.”
A record 1.34 million COVID cases were reported in the United States on Monday, and the seven-day daily average was more than 740,000. Twenty-four states reported record seven-day daily averages, NBC News said. Hospitalizations have gone up with the case counts.
Even before the Omicron surge, the health care system was under stress. An October 2020 report from the data intelligence company Morning Consult said 18% of health care workers quit their jobs during the pandemic, and another 12% were laid off. Among workers who kept their jobs, 31% had considered leaving.
“Massive clinician turnover, long recruitment cycles, and increasing industry competition for talent is crippling acquisition and retention in the health care workforce,” the research firm Forrester said in its “Predictions 2022: Healthcare” report, NBC News reported. “These obstacles will be intensified by limited Covid-19 vaccine uptake in certain populations, unrelenting post-traumatic stress, and staff burnout.”
NBC News said some hospitals offer hazard pay to attract workers or turn to travel nurses or nurses from overseas. The Pennsylvania doctor said he knew doctors being offered $325 an hour to work in overwhelmed facilities.
But paying workers more cuts into hospitals’ bottom line. The Forrester report said that half of the hospitals could have negative margins by the end of 2021.
Medical Professionals Target Joe Rogan in Urging Spotify to Stop COVID Misinformation
Jan. 13, 6:20 p.m.
More than 250 medical professionals have signed an open letter urging Spotify to stop the spread of COVID-19 misinformation, explicitly calling out the Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) podcast.
The letter said Rogan has “repeatedly spread misleading and false claims,” such as discouraging young people from getting vaccinated, incorrectly claiming mRNA vaccines are “gene therapy,” and promoting the use of ivermectin to treat COVID, contrary to FDA warnings. The letter says the JRE has 11 million listeners and “has tremendous influence.”
The letter writers complained in detail about a Dec. 31 episode of the Rogan podcast in which Robert Malone, MD, was interviewed.
Malone is an immunologist who has become a right-wing favorite for his vaccine skepticism. The letter said he repeated several previously debunked claims on the Rogan show. Twitter recently banned him for spreading COVID misinformation, PolitiFact reported.
“By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals,” the letter said.
The letter said the Rogan podcast “is not the only transgression to occur on the Spotify platform, but a relevant example of the platform’s failure to mitigate the damage it is causing.”
The letter doesn’t ask for Rogan to be banned from Spotify but says the platform doesn’t have a policy on misinformation and needs to get one.
The letter writers call themselves a “coalition of scientists, medical professionals, professors, and science communicators spanning a wide range of fields such as microbiology, immunology, epidemiology, and neuroscience….”
Spotify didn’t immediately reply to the letter, according to CNET. It’s unclear if Rogan has responded.
United Airlines Cuts Flights, Says 3,000 Employees Tested Positive
Jan. 12, 5:25 p.m.
United Airlines is responding to the surge in COVID cases by cutting an unspecified number of flights to “make sure we have the staffing and resources to take care of our customers,” company CEO Scott Kirby said in a memo to employees, USA Today reported.
Kirby said 3,000 of the airline’s employees in the United States – about 4.5% of the workforce – have tested positive for COVID. During the holiday travel rush, about a third of United employees in Newark, N.J., called in sick on a single day. Newark Liberty International is one of United’s hubs.
“Our frontline teams continue to put in a tremendous effort during what I know is an incredibly challenging and stressful time – the omicron surge has put a strain on our operation, resulting in customer disruptions during a busy holiday season,” Kirby said in the memo, according to USA Today.
Flight tracker Flight Aware said United canceled 149 flights on Tuesday, the most of any major U.S. airline.
In December, JetBlue cut about 1,300 flights through mid-January because many workers called in sick.
“Like many businesses and organizations, we have seen a surge in the number of sick calls from Omicron,” JetBlue said in a statement to USA Today. “To give our customers give as much notice possible to make alternate plans and re-accommodate them on other flights, we are proactively reducing our schedule through January 13.”
Alaska Airlines also cut flights because of employees calling in sick.
Southwest Airlines is also reacting to a high number of sick employees.
The airline’s pilots’ union said 600 pilots were sick one day earlier this month. Southwest canceled 143 flights on Tuesday, USA Today noted.
Southwest sent a memo to employees saying the company’s contact tracing program would end. Threading how the airline is reducing the isolation period for workers who test positive to five from 10 days, USA Today reported. The shortening of the isolation period reflects guidance from the CDC.