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With more than 100,000 people in the hospital with Covid-19 in the US, this August is worse than last, expert says

More than 100,000 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 in the US — the first time that level has been reached since January — as medical workers say they’re once again struggling to treat waves of patients.

The latest figure, amid a summer surge in Covid-19 cases driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant, is also more than double what it was on the same day last year, when vaccines were not available as they are now. Hospitals and researchers have been saying the vast majority of this year’s hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. The availability of vaccines makes the current hospitalization surge tragic, Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the US Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee, told CNN Wednesday. “The numbers now … are actually in many ways worse than last August,” Offit said. “Last August, we had a fully susceptible population, (and) we didn’t have a vaccine. Now, we have half the country vaccinated … but nonetheless the numbers are worse.

“The Delta variant is one big game changer,” he said. Covid-19 hospitalizations and cases have soared since late June as the Delta variant gained dominance in the US. More than 100,317 Covid-19 patients were in US hospitals Wednesday — more than six times higher than the figure was roughly nine weeks ago, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.The only other period that figure was above 100,000 was from late November to early January, when the country saw a major surge in cases. Fully vaccinated people are far less likely than unvaccinated people to be hospitalized with Covid-19, a recent study from Los Angeles County affirmed.

Infection and hospitalization rates among unvaccinated people were 4.9 and 29.2 times, respectively, those in fully vaccinated persons on July 25, researchers from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health wrote in the study, which was published this week by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Very few fully vaccinated people with coronavirus infection went to a hospital: 3.2%, of them were hospitalized, 0.5% were admitted to an intensive care unit and 0.2% required mechanical ventilation, the researchers said. The study included data on coronavirus infections that occurred in Los Angeles County from May 1 through July 25. The data, which involved both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, included only laboratory-confirmed cases of infection and were representative of infections in the county alone, not the entire United States.

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