US hospitals at ‘breaking point’ as Covid-19 rebounds in multiple areas
The United States is currently seeing a rebound in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases, reported the Bloomberg news agency, adding that the surge is driven by the fast-spreading Delta variant, which has taken a toll on the country's already-stressed healthcare system despite the relatively widespread availability of vaccines.
The Covid-19 rebound seen in several parts of the country is just as bad as last November's, according to data compiled by the agency from the US department of health and human services.
Patients with confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19 are taking up more ICU beds than a year earlier in as many as 15 states – with Colorado, Minnesota, and Michigan showing the highest hospitalisation (under intensive care) rates so far, 41 per cent, 37 per cent, and 34 per cent, respectively.
Michigan, which currently has the highest per-capita case rate in the US, has however not issued any new restrictions on public gatherings, instead encouraging more citizens to mask up and get vaccinated.
“Many of our physicians are at a breaking point,” Ali Mokdad, a professor with the University of Washington’s institute for health metrics and evaluation, was quoted as saying. “It’s not easy to be a day in and day out in an emergency room, in an ICU, looking at someone who is dying because he or she is not vaccinated.”
Since staffed ICU beds in many areas remain occupied by patients with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 cases, there's proportionately less space in the hospitals for those suffering from other ailments, many of them potentially deadly. The situation particularly bodes ill news for the Northeast states, where cases began surging a few weeks after the Midwest and the Rocky Mountains.
After about two months of declining infections, the US has been reporting daily increases for the past two weeks, driven by the more easily transmitted Delta variant of the virus and people spending more time indoors due to colder weather. According to experts, protection instilled by vaccines is waning, and the country could face yet another major wave of the pandemic this winter.
Meanwhile, US regulators expanded eligibility for booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines to all adults last Friday, allowing millions of Americans to get additional protection against the virus amid a recent rise in infections.
The Friday night ruling stopped a three-day-old order by a Houston judge who said clinics could resume abortions up to six weeks into pregnancy. The following day, the American Civil Liberties Union said it doubted that any abortions were now being provided in a state of nearly 30 million people.
"If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit," Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post. "This change will take effect in the coming weeks."
Two Indo-Canadian academics, working on research to advance the betterment of mankind, have been honoured with one of the country's most prestigious awards, the Order of Canada. Their names were in the list published by the office of the governor-general of Canada Mary Simon. Both have been invested (as the bestowal of the awards is described) into the Order as a Member. They are professors Ajay Agrawal and Parminder Raina.
The world's richest person, Elon Musk, has not tweeted in about 10 days and it can't go unnoticed. The 51-year-old business tycoon has 100 million followers on the microblogging site, which he is planning to buy. Since April, he has been making headlines for the $44 billion deal and his comments and concerns about the presence of a large number of fake accounts on Twitter.
The Taliban's reclusive supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada joined a large gathering of nationwide religious leaders in Kabul on Friday, the state news agency said, adding he would give a speech. The Taliban's state-run Bakhtar News Agency confirmed the reclusive leader, who is based in the southern city of Kandahar, was attending the meeting of more than 3,000 male participants from around the country, aimed at discussing issues of national unity.