Articles Posted in Emergency Medicine

covidhospitalizations08212021nyt-300x171The coronavirus keeps ripping through the country with a fourth, Delta-variant fueled surge that also is producing confounding, confused behaviors that only add to the pandemic’s considerable gloom.

The pandemic, which already has killed at least 635,000 Americans and infected just under 40 million of us, is slamming hospitals. More than 100,000 coronavirus patients, including rising numbers of children and younger patients, are jamming intensive care and other units in numbers not seen since the pandemic’s start (see New York Times graphic). This is slashing hospitals’ capacity to treat non-coronavirus patients, even many in serious shape. And hard-hit southern facilities braced for the double-whammy of a hurricane making landfall.

Disease deaths continue their scary spike, now averaging 1,000 a day. Florida is taking a bludgeoning from the disease, crashing records for infections, hospitalizations, and fatalities.

diabetesreuterrise-300x120More than 100,000 people in this country died last year due to diabetes. That’s 17% more than the year before. And in younger age groups, it’s even worse: deaths from diabetes climbed 29% last year  among those ages 25-44, federal data show.

The figures should raise huge alarms that diabetes, as exposed by the coronavirus pandemic, is “out of control,” reported Chad Terhune, Robin Respaut, and Deborah J. Nelson for Reuters news service.

Their investigation, including an analysis of federal data to draw a depressing depiction of diabetes’ significant damages to the health of millions of Americans, found that the pandemic only begins to show huge failures in the care of what should be a manageable illness:

deltadixieft-300x187The coronavirus has killed almost 630,000 Americans, with the pandemic adding in its fourth surge now under way 1,000 deaths a day or 42 fatalities per hour.

The disease has infected almost 38 million of us, with more than 145,000 new cases occurring each day in recent weeks.

More than 90,000 coronavirus patients were in hospitals nationwide in the last week, more than in any previous surge except last winter’s, the New York Times reported.

covidhotspotmap08142021nyt-300x180As the latest coronavirus surge worsens, public health efforts to quell the pandemic are targeting two groups that might be dubbed the can’t-s and won’t-s.

Federal regulators sought to assist the first group by approving coronavirus vaccination booster shots for a select group of patients — those whose compromised immune systems could not generate sufficient protection with standard shot regimens.

Experts say that individuals who have undergone organ transplants or who may be undergoing cancer treatments or otherwise have low immune systems may benefit from the booster shots.

From the It’s-about-time department: Nursing homes and long-term care facilities finally have started to require their health workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported as of Aug. 6 that ~1.6 million long-term care residents and 1.3 million health workers in the care facilities were fully vaccinated.

But with coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and community spread spiking this summer — especially due to the unvaccinated and the Delta variant — nursing homes have seen worrisome signs of their own of the pandemic’s resurgence. And they, along with other health care institutions, can no longer ignore the safety and effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines, the New York Times and other media organizations have reported. As the newspaper noted:

kffvaxvunvaxhospitalized-300x235Kids are flocking back to school for in-person, fall classes — and they are getting eye-opening views of how grownups continue to react to the gravest public health crisis in a century. What kinds of lessons are the next generations taking away from us?

Public health officials are moving with urgency not only to get youngsters 12 and older vaccinated but also to persuade decision-makers in districts across the country to ensure that the young cover their faces and distance — measures that have helped reduce the coronavirus’s spread.

The world, of course, is well past weary of the pandemic. But with the Delta variant causing spikes in cases (now averaging 100,000 per day), hospitalizations, and deaths (averaging 500/day), officials say they have few choices but to rely on public health measures that have helped to quell viral outbreaks.

chairwheelnride-196x300The Biden Administration has ended another egregious health-related policy of its predecessor, reversing the leniency the Trump Administration gave to nursing homes in penalizing them for putting residents at risk or injuring them.

Regulators may now return to slapping owners and operators of problem facilities with mounting, costly daily fines, rather than giving them a single, much lower penalty assessed as if inspectors found a single instance of a violation, the New York Times reported.

This means the facilities again can be subject to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, versus a maximum, onetime $22,000 penalty.

cdcjanjuly21covidcases-300x180The sunny optimism that the coronavirus pandemic might finally be quelled is fading as fast as a two-scoop ice cream cone in the summer swelter.

The stark rise of the Delta variant, with its fast-surging infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, has reminded experts and the public of the pandemic’s gravity, as well as its ability to not just sustain but to mutate rapidly and require quick-changing responses.

Officials across the county are urging people anew to cover their faces indoors, distance, and, for heaven’s sake, to get vaccinated if they have not done so already. Maybe the unvaccinated could be paid $100 by states from coronavirus relief funds to get the shots, President Biden has suggested.

covidhotspotsjuly242021mayo-300x219As coronavirus cases surge, hospitalizations rise, and deaths tick up — mostly among the unvaccinated — the national conversation has returned to familiar controversies over public health measures like getting people shots and getting them to cover their faces again.

But with the Delta variant tearing mostly through those who haven’t gotten shots, a new twist also has emerged. Could the latest trend by dubbed, “enough is enough?” Patience with the resistant and reluctant — a little under half the U.S. population — may be running out.

The largest hospital association in the country told its members that it is past time to require health workers to get vaccinated. These valuable individuals already work under mandates for other inoculations and the latest coronavirus surge, which could result in spiking deaths in the fall, is cause enough for a vaccination mandate, the group said.

cdcnytopioidcrisisjuly2021-183x300“It’s huge, it’s historic, it’s unheard of, unprecedented, and a real shame. It’s a complete shame”

That quote, reported by the New York Times and made by Daniel Ciccarone, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, tragically summarizes the latest  federal data on the opioid abuse and drug overdose crisis. As the newspaper and others reported:

“Drug overdose deaths rose nearly 30% in 2020 to a record 93,000, according to preliminary statistics released … by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s the largest single-year increase recorded.”

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