Biden deploys military medical teams to hospitals in six states as omicron disrupts essential services

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  • The federal government will deploy six teams of military medical personnel to hospitals in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Michigan and New Mexico.
  • According to Health and Human Services, more than 152,000 people in the US were hospitalized with Covid as of Wednesday, an 18% increase from the previous week.
  • On average, more than 1,000 hospitals nationwide are currently reporting critical staff shortages daily, according to HHS data.

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President Joe Biden will announce the deployment of six teams of military medical personnel to hospitals in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Michigan and New Mexico on Thursday, a White House official said.

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The deployment comes as hospitals grapple with staffing shortages as nurses and other medical personnel call ill from Omicron amid a surge of highly contagiously infected patients.

Before the widespread distribution of vaccines, Covid-19 hospitalizations are higher than last winter’s peak. According to data tracked by the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 152,000 people in the US were hospitalized with Covid as of Wednesday, an 18% increase from the previous week.

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The US reported nearly 900,000 new infections on Wednesday, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, bringing more than 786,000 new cases per day – a pandemic record and a 37% increase from the previous week. ,

On average, more than 1,000 hospitals nationwide are currently reporting severe staff shortages, according to HHS data. However, this is a low number as many hospitals were not reporting their condition till Wednesday.

American College of Emergency Physicians President Dr. Gillian Schmitz said the stress on front-line workers is worse now than at any other point in the pandemic.

“Many places across the country are getting to the point where even their backup workers are getting sick,” Schmitz told CNBC on Wednesday. “To a large extent, the entire country is feeling the rise in cases that are affecting staffing.”

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Biden announced his plans to deploy 1,000 military medical personnel to support hospitals in December as O’Micron was rapidly overtaking the Delta version. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is also providing additional hospital diversions and sending ambulances and EMS teams to help transport patients.

“It’s not enough,” Schmitz told CNBC on Wednesday. “I know everyone is trying to support as much as possible, but we have limited resources even within our national framework.”

Epidemiologists warn that the enormity of Omicron infections still threatens to overwhelm hospitals with patients, even if the variants are typically less severe than Delta.

Infectious disease experts found a study this week that Omicron patients at Kaiser Permanente Southern California were 74% less likely to need intensive care and 91% less likely to die from the virus than those who caught the Delta variant. According to the study, none of the Omicron patients required mechanical ventilation.

According to the study, the risk of hospitalization was also 52% lower for Omicron patients compared to those with Delta. The length of hospital stay for Omicron patients was also about three days shorter than for their Delta counterparts.

Kaiser Permanente Southern California provides care to more than 4.7 million people. The study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, analyzed more than 52,000 Omicron cases and nearly 17,000 Delta cases.

Doctors and nurses have warned about staff shortage for months. The American Nurses Association called on the Biden administration in September to declare the nursing shortage a national crisis.

ANA President Ernest Grant said at the time, “The country’s health care delivery system is overwhelmed, and nurses are tired and frustrated because there is no end to this persistent pandemic.” “Nurses alone cannot solve this long-standing problem and it is not our burden,” Grant said.

Acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock told lawmakers on Tuesday that the US must ensure that hospitals and other essential services are not disrupted because people call out sick.

Woodcock testified before the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday, “It’s hard to process what’s going on right now that most people are going to get Covid.” “We need to make sure that hospitals can still function, transportation, other essential services are not disrupted while this happens.”

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