Unvaccinated Covid-19 patients are filling up hospitals, putting the care of others at risk, doctors say

Unvaccinated Covid-19 patients are filling up hospitals, putting the care of others at risk, doctors say

Posted: Aug 1, 2021 11:01 PM
Updated: Aug 1, 2021 11:01 PM

Hospitals are surging with unvaccinated patients infected with the Delta variant -- which could affect car accident victims and other non-Covid-19 patients who need hospital care, doctors say.

"None of these patients thought they would get the virus, but the Delta variant has proven to be so highly contagious that even the young and the healthy, including pregnant patients, are now starting to fill up our hospitals," said Dr. Neil Finkler, chief clinical officer for AdventHealth Central Florida.

More than 90% of the hospitalized Covid-19 patients are unvaccinated, he said.

In Austin, Texas, "Our ICU capacity is reaching a critical point where the level of risk to the entire community has significantly increased, and not just to those who are needing treatment for COVID," Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a statement.

"If we fail to come together as a community now, we jeopardize the lives of loved ones who might need critical care."

In Mississippi, Covid-19 hospitalizations have increased significantly -- including among younger patients, State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs said. All 88 beds in the University of Mississippi Medical Center's intensive care unit had filled up by Friday, according to data from the state's health department.

And in Louisiana, "We're becoming victims of the unvaccinated," said Dr. Christopher Thomas, critical care physician at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge.

"We currently are overwhelming our bed capacity. We're creating burnout for our teams. And honestly, we're beginning to impact the rest of the health care for the community."

At the Louisiana hospital, 97% of Covid-19 patients in the ICU were unvaccinated, Thomas said. As of Friday, the average age of Covid-19 patients in the ICU was 48.

"That means there are children -- with parents -- who are now in the hospital," he said.

With only 49.6% of Americans fully vaccinated as of Sunday, more businesses and cities such as Birmingham, New Orleans and Louisville are issuing mask mandates to fight the Delta variant.

The Delta strain is several times more contagious than the original strain of novel coronavirus and appears to cause more severe disease, according to an internal presentation from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Given higher transmissibility and current vaccine coverage, universal masking is essential to reduce transmission of the Delta variant," the internal CDC documents said.

Unvaccinated people are causing tougher mask guidance

Many of those who don't want to wear masks or get vaccinated are prolonging the pandemic, doctors say.

"We know that the vast majority of the spread is still by unvaccinated people. And I think that that is the part that's been lost in the messaging from the CDC," said Dr. Leana Wen, visiting professor at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health.

"The problem is not with the vaccinated. The problem remains with the unvaccinated. And the way that we can get out of this pandemic is to increase vaccination rates," she said.

"So the CDC should actually be saying, 'Look, the reason we're doing indoor mandates is because the unvaccinated cannot be trusted to put on masks. That's why the vaccinated also have to be putting on masks.'"

Confusion about he new mask guidance, explained

Many Americans were surprised to hear the CDC's updated guidance saying everyone -- even fully vaccinated people -- should wear face masks indoors in areas of high or substantial transmission.

To be clear: "It's mostly about protecting the unvaccinated. That's where the real serious risks of illness are," said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

Those who are vaccinated are less likely to get infected, Collins said. When breakthrough infections do happen in vaccinated people, they usually lead to mild or no symptoms at all.

But vaccinated people who get breakthrough infections might be able to spread Covid-19 as easily as unvaccinated people, according to the CDC.

"High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus," CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Friday.

That finding "was a pivotal discovery leading to CDC's updated mask recommendation," Walensky said.

But Collins said it's critical to emphasize how much more danger unvaccinated people are in, compared to vaccinated people. He said those who are not vaccinated:

-- Are three times more likely to get infected.

-- Are eight times more likely to get symptoms when infected.

-- Are 25 times more likely to be hospitalized with Covid-19.

"If anybody's listening who's been on the fence, it's a tipping point now," Collins said. "Let's try to get everybody out there and start to be a part of the winning team."

In some places, vaccinations are picking up

As more Americans become educated about the Delta variant, vaccinations are increasing.

According to CDC data, 816,023 doses were administered Saturday -- the fifth straight day the agency recorded more than 700,000 shots in arms. The 7-day average of administered doses is 662,529 per day, the highest average since July 7.

Overall, 49.6% of the US population -- 168.4 million people -- are fully vaccinated. Of those 12 and older, 58.1% are fully vaccinated.

Nationwide, the rate of vaccinations this past week is up more than 25% compared to three weeks ago.

In Alabama and Arkansas, which both have about 35% of residents fully vaccinated, the rates of new doses given have doubled compared to three weeks ago.

Ohio has had "a significant increase" in vaccination rates, particularly in rural areas, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said Sunday.

"I think ... the fear of the Delta variant is certainly one of the causes," DeWine said.

He said the state is now focusing on outreach efforts to the "under-vaccinated" Medicaid population through incentives like $100 cash awards for getting the vaccinated.

DeWine also credited the state's "Vax-a-Million" program for boosting vaccinations.

"We think well over 100,000 extra people were vaccinated, at a minimum, because of that," DeWine said. "It was very, very successful."

But "the game is still with getting people vaccinated," he said. "We have room to grow."

The-CNN-Wire
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Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501652

Reported Deaths: 10024
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34353540
DeSoto32162408
Hinds31977631
Jackson24508383
Rankin22015390
Lee15596235
Madison14597280
Jones13867243
Forrest13461252
Lauderdale11998317
Lowndes11065188
Lamar10522136
Pearl River9547237
Lafayette8557140
Hancock7740127
Washington7443160
Oktibbeha7147133
Monroe6787178
Warren6706176
Pontotoc6677104
Neshoba6642206
Panola6542131
Marshall6476135
Bolivar6323150
Union605794
Pike5824152
Alcorn5676102
Lincoln5439135
George497479
Scott473098
Tippah470381
Prentiss469182
Leflore4663144
Itawamba4640105
Adams4592119
Tate4592111
Copiah448792
Simpson4448116
Yazoo444887
Wayne440072
Covington429094
Sunflower4240105
Marion4232108
Coahoma4168107
Leake408688
Newton381779
Grenada3711108
Stone360664
Tishomingo360092
Attala331789
Jasper330165
Winston314691
Clay308977
Chickasaw301067
Clarke292594
Calhoun279447
Holmes267987
Smith264150
Yalobusha234547
Tallahatchie228251
Greene219449
Walthall218764
Lawrence213140
Perry205956
Amite205256
Webster203046
Noxubee186840
Montgomery179657
Jefferson Davis172243
Carroll169338
Tunica160039
Benton149239
Kemper141941
Choctaw133326
Claiborne132837
Humphreys129638
Franklin120328
Quitman106528
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94734
Sharkey64220
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 820312

Reported Deaths: 15407
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1148731924
Mobile726221339
Madison52362697
Shelby37640350
Baldwin37266552
Tuscaloosa35120612
Montgomery34123740
Lee23540246
Calhoun22236488
Morgan20958378
Etowah19838500
Marshall18381304
Houston17394412
St. Clair16078339
Cullman15468293
Limestone15354199
Elmore15271286
Lauderdale14323295
Talladega13851283
DeKalb12664261
Walker11221370
Blount10207176
Autauga10048148
Jackson9877184
Coffee9211191
Dale8904185
Colbert8877201
Tallapoosa7093198
Escambia6778134
Covington6715183
Chilton6648162
Russell637559
Franklin5969105
Chambers5612142
Marion5010127
Dallas4979200
Pike4796106
Clarke475884
Geneva4575127
Winston4522103
Lawrence4327117
Bibb425386
Barbour357876
Marengo338390
Monroe331664
Randolph329864
Butler326796
Pickens316584
Henry312866
Hale311688
Cherokee302960
Fayette294180
Washington251651
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245375
Clay243368
Macon234863
Lamar224847
Conecuh186353
Coosa180340
Lowndes175464
Wilcox168939
Bullock151744
Perry138940
Sumter133238
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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Columbus
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Oxford
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High pressure will dominate our weather forecast for our Tuesday. This means we will see some good weather for our Tuesday. However, some rain and thunderstorms will be in our weather forecast down the line with some more low pressure in our area.
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