Washington: Covid-19 deaths in the US have climbed to an average of more than 1,900 a day for the first time since early March, with experts saying the virus is preying largely on a distinct group — 71 million unvaccinated Americans.
The increasingly lethal turn has filled hospitals, complicated the start of the school year, delayed the return to offices and demoralised healthcare workers.
“It is devastating,” said Dr Dena Hubbard, a paediatrician in the Kansas City, Missouri, area who has cared for babies delivered prematurely by cesarean section in a last-ditch effort to save their mothers, some of whom died. For health workers, the deaths, combined with misinformation and disbelief about the virus, have been “heart-wrenching, soul-crushing.”
Twenty-two people died in one week alone at CoxHealth hospitals in the Springfield-Branson area, a level almost as high as that of all of Chicago. West Virginia has had more deaths in the first three weeks of September — 340 — than in the previous three months combined. Georgia is averaging 125 dead per day, more than California or other more populous States.
“I’ve got to tell you, a guy has got to wonder if we are ever going to see the end of it or not,” said Collin Follis, who is the coroner in Missouri’s Madison County and works at a funeral home.
The nation was stunned back in December when it was witnessing 3,000 deaths a day. But that was when almost no one was vaccinated.
Now, nearly 64 per cent of the US population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. And yet, average deaths per day have climbed 40 per cent over the past two weeks, from 1,387 to 1,947, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Health experts say the vast majority of the hospitalised and dead have been unvaccinated. While some vaccinated people have suffered breakthrough infections, those tend to be mild.
The number of vaccine-eligible Americans who have yet to get a shot has been put at more than 70 million.
“There is a very real risk you’ll end up in the hospital or even in the obituary pages,” Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer for the Ohio Department of Health, said to the unvaccinated. “Don’t become a statistic when there is a simple, safe and effective alternative to go out today and get vaccinated.” Many low-vaccination communities also have high rates of conditions like obesity and diabetes, said Dr. William Moss of Johns Hopkins. And that combination — along with the more contagious delta variant — has proved lethal.
US to double vaccine purchase
President Joe Biden is set to announce that the United States is doubling its purchase of Pfizer’s COVID-19 shots to share with the world to 1 billion doses as he embraces the goal of vaccinating 70% of the global population within the next year.
The stepped-up U.S. commitment is to be the cornerstone of the global vaccination summit Biden is convening virtually Wednesday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, where he plans to push well-off nations to do more to get the coronavirus under control. AP
Severe Covid can lead to delirium
A study of 150 patients hospitalised for Covid in the US at the beginning of the pandemic found that 73 per cent had delirium, a serious disturbance in mental state wherein a person is confused, agitated and unable to think clearly.
The study, published in the journal BMJ Open, found that patients with delirium tended to be sicker, with more comorbidities like hypertension and diabetes, and appeared to have more severe COVID-related illness.
“COVID is also associated with a number of other adverse outcomes that tend to prolong hospitalisation and make recovery difficult,” said study author Phillip Vlisides, from the University of Michigan in the US. PTI
WHO thanks India over vaccine export
The WHO on Wednesday appreciated India’s decision to export the vaccines under Vaccine Maitri to COVAX.
The Director-General of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that it is an important development in support of reaching the 40 per cent vaccination target in all countries by the end of this year.
The WHO Director General has thanked Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya for resuming shipments of vaccines against the Covid-19 to the global platform COVAX from October.