U.S. to Deploy Military Medical Teams to Help Ease Strain on Hospitals

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While many countries grapple with weeks of rising cases, the UK may have reached the peak of the latest surge

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According to the White House, the teams will be stationed at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, Coney Island Hospital in New York, Rhode Island Hospital, Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan, University of New Mexico Hospital and University Hospital in New Jersey.

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The White House said more military medical teams would be deployed to other states in the coming weeks if needed.

The White House said that since Thanksgiving, the administration has sent more than 800 military and other federal emergency medical personnel to states, tribes and territories.

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During a December speech, Mr Biden announced plans to send 1,000 military personnel to hospitals in the coming months, but he did not say which hospitals would receive additional aid.

This week the US saw the number of recorded Covid-19 hospitalizations break its previous all-time peak of last winter. Despite early evidence that the Omicron variant is less likely to cause severe disease than previous variants, the overwhelming number of infections led to increased hospitalizations.

The seven-day average for reported cases in the US stood at 786,064 on Wednesday, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.

In Europe, where cases of omicron began to rise weeks earlier than in the US, governments focused on restrictions on non-vaccination and encouraging booster shots in an effort to limit hospitalizations, leaving society and the economy at large. requested to keep. Some countries have begun contingency plans to avoid staff shortages shutting down critical infrastructure.

Several schools across France will remain closed on Thursday due to a teacher’s strike against the complex and frequently-changing COVID-19 protocol. A major union organizing the strike said this week that it expects three-quarters of teachers to participate, leading to the closure of nearly half the country’s schools. At noon on Thursday, the education ministry said that about 31% of teachers were taking part in the strike, including 38% of primary-school teachers.

The number of cases of coronavirus in France is increasing continuously. Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Wednesday that he estimated the actual number of people who have caught the virus, including those who have not been tested, could double to the reported figure, from 500,000 a day to closer to one million.

Hospitalizations and deaths have also increased, though much less rapidly. In the last three weeks, there has been a 369% increase in the number of cases every day, while the number of hospitalizations increased by 83% every day. Intensive care admissions and deaths have increased even more slowly over the past three weeks, at 26% and 30%, respectively.

Infections have soared in Italy, Spain and Greece, all now showing higher per capita infection rates than the US and UK, although the number of deaths, although still well below previous highs, began to tick higher Is.

On Wednesday, Italy recorded 313 deaths, the highest level since April last year, but just a third of the peak seen at the end of 2020. Some public-health officials are predicting that the current surge of infections will peak within the next week, while others say no. The peak will not come till the end of the month.

Spain has an average of more than 100,000 new confirmed infections a day, nearly 10 times more than a month ago. This week, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the country should abandon efforts to isolate those who test positive for COVID-19 and trace all their contacts. Instead, he said, the country should start treating the disease like a “common flu.”

In December, Greece made vaccination mandatory for people over the age of 60, with a fine of €100, equivalent to $114, which would be imposed from January 16 for those who did not comply.

In Germany, a surge in cases is pushing the country’s vast testing capacity to its limits, Michael Müller, head of the Association of Accredited Medical Laboratories in Germany, told the regional Rhenish Post daily. He said the problem would get worse with a new law that allows people with negative PCR tests to cut short quarantines.

The government has warned that it may have to prioritize critical infrastructure workers for testing if the demand for testing exceeds laboratory capacity. Germany reported 81,417 new confirmed cases on Wednesday, a daily record.

The number of hospitalizations in the country has been declining since early December, but Germany’s Center for Disease Control, the Robert Koch Institute, warned on Wednesday that the number of hospitalizations could be higher than official figures showed.

In the UK, one of the countries hardest hit by Omicron, more signs emerged that the latest surge was peaking. The seven-day average of new daily cases is falling for over a week and on Tuesday fell below the 14-day average for the first time since November, according to an analysis of official data from the Wall Street Journal.

The rate of increase in the number of new COVID-19 hospitalizations has also slowed, and in England, and especially in London, which experienced an omicron boom sooner than other regions – new hospital admissions with COVID-19 are falling.

Write Andrew Restuccia at [email protected], Sam Schechner at [email protected] and Eric Silver at [email protected]

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