Covid Hospitalizations on the Rise During the Festive Season
While healthcare systems are still contending with a rush of sick people infected with RSV and influenza, even more patients infected with Covid-19 are now arriving at U.S. hospitals after Thanksgiving.
According to Washington Post data tracking, more than 35 000 covid patients were being treated over the past week with covid hospitalizations reaching their highest level in three months.
There is concern among public health authorities that the increase in the number of covid patients will worsen the strain on hospitals already under pressure from RSV and influenza patients, reports Yahoo News.
The dominant covid subvariants in the U.S. called BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 now account for more than half of infections nationwide. These subvariants are descendants of BA.5, the Omicron subvariant that dominated infections in the U.S. since the summer.
Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist and a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco told Yahoo News that BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 appear to be more transmissible because they have taken over and replaced other variants in the U.S. and other countries.
“The greatest implications for both of the new strains, Gandhi said, is their ability to evade immunity conferred by vaccination, treatments or prior infection. BQ.1.1 in particular has shown to be resistant to all available monoclonal antibody treatments, including Evusheld and bebtelovimab. This is worrisome because these therapies have been a vital help for immunocompromised people who don’t respond as well to COVID-19 vaccination, and also for people who cannot get vaccinated due to a history of a severe adverse reaction to the COVID shots,” writes Yahoo News.
Nancy Foster of the American Hospital Association told Yahoo News that members are still mostly raising concerns about flu and RSV rather than covid-19. According to Foster, the real concern is that a large inflow of covid, RSV and flu patients over the coming weeks will place stress on the hospitals’ capacity to care for sick patients.
It goes without saying that holiday gatherings will be a great opportunity for covid to spread as millions of Americans make their way around the country to visit family and go on vacation.
We recommend grabbing a couple of N95 NIOSH-approved masks to keep on hand during the festive season and beyond. NIOSH N95 masks are the US standards for respirator masks and are rated to capture a minimum of 95% of 0.3 micron particles. All of our masks at Planet Halo Health have been independently tested to filter more than the 95% requirement set by KN95 and N95 Filtration standards and surpass this at a 98-99.9% filtration rate.