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The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths is increasing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Data Tracker.
For the last week of July, the number of hospital admissions in the United States were up 12.5%, for total admissions of 9,056. This compares to about 6,000 people hospitalized during the last week of June, according to CDC data posted August 10.
The World Health Organization has reported that global numbers are also climbing, according to NPR.
Deaths due to COVID-19 increased by 10% in the most recent week of reporting.
The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations have now risen for the fifth straight week, according to information posted by the University of Minnesota. They still represent only 2.73 of every 100,000 admissions, according to the CDC.
COVID-19-related fatalities made up 1.1% of the nation’s deaths.
Emergency department visits for COVID-19 were up 21.4% compared to the previous week. Test positivity rose 1.6% compared to the week before, and is at 10.6% nationally, the University of Minnesota report said. Levels were higher in Texas and surrounding states, followed by the southeast, southwest, and northwest regions.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Booster doses have been available since September 2022 for certain age groups and are now available for everyone six months or older.
But demand has lagged. In its latest quarterly earnings, Pfizer said it was considering possible cost-cutting measures to manage potential losses from the vaccine, according to Axios.
On May 11, the federal government ended the public health emergency.
The slight uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may be the impetus for people to get a booster dose. However, a new vaccine is expected out at the end of September that would target the XBB variants, the most common current form of the virus.
The three vaccine manufacturers, Moderna, Pfizer and Novavax, are expected to offer the revised shots for this fall, for which all children and adults will be eligible, according to CBS News.
THE LARGER TREND
A public health emergency was in place for the COVID-19 pandemic starting on January 27, 2020 and ending on May 11 of this year.
Vaccinations in the United States began in December 2020.
On December 31, 2021, CNN reported that the United States shattered the record with an average of 355,990 infections reported each day for a week.
In December 2022, the XBB variant made up over half of the COVID-19 cases in New England. At that time, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reminded insurers and the public that the vaccines were available without cost-sharing. The Department of Health and Human Services continues to send the message on its website, that COVID-19 vaccines are free to everyone 6 months old and older in the United States.
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