COVID-19 Hospitalizations Rise Amid Omicron Surge

Carolyn Crist

December 27, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

More than 71,000 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized across the country as of Monday morning, according to the latest data from the Department of Health and Human Services. Nearly 10% of inpatient beds are in use for COVID-19, and 71% of overall inpatient beds are being used.

About a week ago, more than 69,000 people were hospitalized for COVID-19, according to UPI. At the beginning of December, about 58,000 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals.

During the peak of the Delta variant, more than 100,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, UPI reported. Some regions of the U.S. had no beds available at that time.

On Monday, New York had the highest number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 with 5,772 patients, followed by Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California and Texas.

The U.S. is now averaging about 200,000 new COVID-19 cases each day, marking a 47% increase from last week and the highest daily numbers since January.

"I think we're going to see half a million cases a day — easy — sometime over the next week to 10 days," Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences, told CNN on Sunday.

Public health officials aren't yet sure how the surge in infections will translate to hospitalizations and deaths in coming weeks. Early data from other countries show that Omicron is highly contagious but may carry a lower risk of hospitalization than the Delta variant. At the same time, the sheer number of cases could lead to a higher number of hospitalizations nationwide and serious health outcomes.

"Although hospitalizations may be less, that doesn't mean zero," William Schaffner, MD, a professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told CNN on Friday.

"There are many places in the country where hospitalizations are now increasing," he said.

About a dozen states have seen at least a 10% uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past week, CNN reported. In addition, pediatric hospitalizations in New York have quadrupled in recent weeks, particularly among unvaccinated children between ages 5-11.

Sources

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "HHS Protect Inpatient Bed Dashboard."

UPI: "U.S. hospitalizations rise to 71,458 among COVID-19 Omicron surge."

CNN: "Between Christmas and New Year's, doctors expect the U.S. Omicron surge to grow."

CNN: "Daily Covid-19 case rates have now surpassed Delta's surge. Hospitalizations so far have yet to match."

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