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Fauci warns against complacency with 'micron' amid pressure on US hospitals

Fauci warns against complacency with ‘micron’ amid pressure on US hospitals

Written by Shannon Stapleton and Maria Caspani

KOYAGA FALLS, Ohio (Reuters) – U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci warned on Wednesday against being complacent about the microscopic alternative to the coronavirus, saying the large number of cases could overwhelm hospitals even though there were less serious signs.

The astonishing pace of Ômicron’s spread has complicated life across the country by affecting post-holiday re-starts, boycotts of air travel, closing entertainment venues, and disrupting plans to return to offices.

The seven-day average number of new Covid-19 cases in the United States reached 540,000, a new peak for the eighth consecutive day on Tuesday. The number of Covid patients in hospitals rose 45 percent in the past seven days to more than 111,000, a number not seen since January 2021.

“(Micron) can still put pressure on our hospital system because a certain percentage of a large volume of cases, no matter what happens, are going to be serious,” Fauci told reporters in a White House interview.

In Ohio, the state with the second-highest per capita hospitalization rate for Covid-19 in the country, staff at a small community hospital said they are struggling to deal with an influx of patients.

Hospital staff said some patients had been in the 12-bed intensive care unit (ICU) at Western Reserve Hospital in Cuyahoga Falls for up to six weeks, and the majority appeared to have a delta variant.

Patients up to age 30 are on ventilators, and three patients have died in one day on multiple occasions in recent months, Susan Strauss, director of critical care at the hospital said.

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