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US official warns that Omicron could overwhelm hospitals

US official warns that Omicron could overwhelm hospitals

The US infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, warned Wednesday against indolence with the Omicron variant of the new coronavirus, saying the massive number of cases could overwhelm hospitals despite less serious signs.

The astonishing pace of Omicron’s spread has complicated life across the country by affecting the resumption of studies after the holidays, disrupting air travel, closing entertainment venues and disrupting plans to return to offices.

Photo: Reuters/Rights Reserved

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 patients with COVID-19 in hospitals has increased by 45% in the past seven days and has reached more than 111,000, a number not seen since January 2021.

“(Omicron) can still put pressure on our hospital system because a certain percentage of a large volume of cases, whatever they are, are going to be serious,” Fauci told reporters in a White House interview.

In Ohio, the state with the second-highest Covid-19 hospital admissions per capita in the country, staff at a small community hospital said they are struggling to cope 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 most appeared to have a delta variant.

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

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