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Health Experts Say ‘Awful’ Month of COVID Still Lies Ahead With 84K+ Deaths Expected

Health Experts Say ‘Awful’ Month of COVID Still Lies Ahead With 84K+ Deaths Expected

The numbers are likely to get worse before they get better while the highly transmissible Omicron variant continues to drive up Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations across the country, and health experts say it’s critical Americans continue safe practices to prevent infections.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published their forecast on Wednesday which predicts that more than 84,000 people could die of Covid-19 over the next four weeks, and cautions “current forecasts may not fully account for the emergence and rapid spread of the Omicron variant or changes in reporting during the holidays.”

 

The forecast could mean an average of 3,526 Covid-19 deaths per day, up from a current average of 1,251 each day, based on data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Covid-19 has killed at least 832,148 people and infected about 57.8 million in the US, according to JHU’s database.

 

While it’s likely that “the next month is going to be awful,” according to health experts, it doesn’t mean that everyone should assume they will catch the virus. The patterns of Omicron infections in the UK and South Africa indicate prevention with vaccinations and follow-up booster doses is key, with unvaccinated people accounting for roughly 99% of all COVID deaths.

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Health care facilities are scrambling to handle staff shortages as hospitalizations for Covid-19 are increasing for both adults and children in every state. In the Kansas City metro area, hospitals are postponing certain surgeries due to employees out sick with Covid-19, according to more than a dozen doctors at a news conference Wednesday. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed a state of disaster emergency on Thursday to alleviate some of the healthcare staffing shortages and constraints caused by the surge. All non-urgent surgeries have been postponed in hospitals across the country as overloaded facilities try to cope with a seemingly endless wave of new patients. But the COVID patients are also impacting others with pressing medical issues.

Some relief is coming, however. The CDC updated its recommendations Wednesday for the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine booster to include children as young as 12, at least five months after they finish the primary vaccine series. The decision follows the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) earlier expansion of the emergency use authorization for the booster.

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