COVID-19 hospitalizations could hit 32,000 a day, CDC forecast says
The United States could start seeing more than 32,000 new COVID-19 hospitalizations a day as early as September, according to the COVID-19 Forecast Hub at UMass Amherst, which is utilized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to forecast COVID-19 trends.
The forecasts predict new hospital admission over the next four weeks and the information is derived from eight modeling groups.
"This week’s national ensemble predicts that the number of new daily confirmed COVID-19 hospital admissions will likely increase over the next 4 weeks, with 9,000 to 32,800 new confirmed COVID-19 hospital admissions likely reported on September 13, 2021," according to the CDC.
The forecasts also predict that states that are seeing record numbers of hospitalizations such as Florida, Texas and Arkansas, will see a slight downward trend in new COVID-19 hospitalizations.
FILE - A registered nurse, cares for COVID-19 patients in a makeshift ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center on Jan. 21, 2021 in Torrance, Calif.
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Meanwhile, in Seminole County, Florida, emergency management officials are asking residents to only call 911 for "actual" emergencies because local hospitals are "busy" tending to COVID-19 patients.
"We are working to stress to the public what NOT to call 911 for and what to call 911 for," the Seminole County Fire Department said. "Only call if you have difficulty breathing, persistent pressure on chest, etc."
"We’ve experienced hospital wait times in the past but what we’re seeing is historic levels of it right now," said Seminole County Fire Chief Otto Drozd. "What’s happening now is that because the hospitals are inundated, our units taking patients in are having to wait an excess of 45 min, an hour, two hours when the normal wait time is 20 minutes."
In Texas, pediatric COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed. The spike has resulted in no pediatric ICU beds left in North Texas region, hospital officials said on Aug. 12.
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"We [have] no staffed pediatric ICU beds available in Trauma Service Area E," said Stephen Love, President/CEO, Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council.
Officials said there are 73 confirmed COVID-19 pediatric patients hospitalized as of Aug. 12.
"Which is the highest level ever of pediatric COVID-19 patients we have ever treated," Love said. "We’ve got very talented and skilled people running these hospitals and I think they're going to do everything they can to surge and continue to care for the patients. It's just how big is the surge going to be?"
"None of these models on their own are adequate to drive policy decisions," Nicholas Reich, director of the UMass Influenza Forecasting Center of Excellence, said of the COVID-19 Forecast Hub. "We’ve created a simple ensemble model to try to unify all these forecasts of COVID-19 together. Some models are overly optimistic, and others may be overly pessimistic. The reality is likely in the middle. We need the diversity of these modeling teams to understand the full range of future possibilities."
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Additionally, COVID-19 hospitalizations for the 30 to 39 age group have hit an all-time high, according to a CDC online tracker.
The data showed that hospitals are seeing 2.5 new admissions per 100,000 people in that age range as of Aug. 15. That’s up from when hospitals saw .42 new admissions per 100,000 on June 21.
CDC officials said hospitalizations have increased overall for Americans but still remain lower than the peak the country saw over the winter.
However, Infections and hospitalization numbers are quickly approaching what they were at the winter peak, with several states seeing a record number of hospitalizations and a critical shortage of available ICU beds.
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Predictions of a surge in new COVID-19 hospitalizations come as the delta variant continues to infect mostly unvaccinated Americans and federal health officials are set to recommend a third booster shot for everyone, not just the immunocompromised.
U.S. health officials Wednesday announced plans to offer COVID-19 booster shots to all Americans to shore up their protection amid the surging delta variant and signs that the vaccines' effectiveness is falling.
The plan, as outlined by the director of the CDC and other top authorities, calls for an extra dose eight months after people get their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The doses could begin the week of Sept. 20.
"Our plan is to protect the American people, to stay ahead of this virus," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.
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People who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also probably need extra shots, health officials said. But they said they are waiting for more data.
The overall plan is subject to a Food and Drug Administration evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of a third dose and a review by a CDC advisory panel.
The call for booster shots is a stark reminder that nearly 20 months into the outbreak, the U.S. is still unable to contain the virus that has killed 620,000 Americans and disrupted nearly every part of daily life.
The novel coronavirus has killed more than 623,000 people in the U.S. with a total of 168.9 million people fully vaccinated as of Aug. 18, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The Associated Press, FOX 35 Orlando, FOX 4 News and Chris Williams contributed to this report.