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China’s First Ever Outbreak At The Start Of The Covid 19 Pandemic In Wuhan Had Largely Been Brought Under Control By March 2020

China’s First Ever Outbreak At The Start Of The Covid 19 Pandemic In Wuhan Had Largely Been Brought Under Control By March 2020

The pandemic grips the Rockies
As cases have plummeted in the South, many parts of the West have contended with their worst surges to date.
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For many weeks, declining cases and hospitalizations have offered hope ahead of the holiday season, when Americans travel and spend more time indoors, but progress has stalled recently, with cases rising or plateauing in more than 20 states.
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In fact, the country’s daily average of cases has hovered around 72,000 infections for the past two week as outbreaks smolder, particularly in the northern half of the country. About 40,000 people are in the hospital with COVID-19, under half of the peak in early September.
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The Mountain West — where vaccination coverage tends to be lower — is the worst off, especially Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Parts of the Southwest and Midwest are also trying to control an uptick. Even some of the heavily vaccinated Northeast has been dealing with increases during the fall.

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Modeling suggests that cases will likely stay high through the holiday season but will not accelerate into a new nationwide surge as occurred last year, says Dr. David Rubin, who leads the COVID-19 modeling group at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“The next few weeks are really going to tell us about the holiday season,” he says. “I’ve got cautious optimism, particularly in highly vaccinated areas right now.”

Tracking coronavirus around the U.S.: See how your state is doing
SHOTS – HEALTH NEWS
Tracking coronavirus around the U.S.: See how your state is doing
What you need to know about COVID boosters
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What you need to know about COVID boosters
Now that younger kids can start to get vaccinated, that could make a substantial difference in controlling cases as families gather together. That gives Rubin “the greatest hope that our worst days are behind us.”

Some experts are less sanguine about what direction the pandemic is heading, though.

“There is more than enough human wood for this coronavirus forest fire to burn,” says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. Researchers there estimate that about 70 million Americans remain vulnerable to the virus due to a combination of waning immunity and lack of vaccination.

“It’s not going to look like it was in January because we have a lot of immunity,” says Dr. Julie Parsonnet, a professor of epidemiology and population health at Stanford University. “But we’re going to see waves — the peak of the waves is going to get lower and lower, but we’re still going to see them as the population gets more and more immune.”

The pandemic grips the Rockies
As cases have plummeted in the South, many parts of the West have contended with their worst surges to date.

“In the 12 years I’ve been with the hospital, it’s hands down the busiest, including compared to last fall,” says Dr. Andy Dunn, head of primary care at Wyoming Medical Center, the state’s largest hospital. “We’re seeing more COVID patients, and we’re seeing sicker COVID patients.”

Do you need to wear a mask indoors where you live? Check this map
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Do you need to wear a mask indoors where you live? Check this map
With only about 44% of its population fully vaccinated, Wyoming ranks below almost every other state. This reality, coupled with the arrival of the delta variant of the coronavirus, had Dunn’s hospital prepping months ago: “We knew it was going to hit, so it’s been very stressful.”

In Utah, health officials were on the brink of activating statewide plans to ration care last fall, and now the situation looks nearly as bad, says Dr. Angela Dunn, executive director at the Salt Lake County Health Department.

“We are definitely in a crisis in terms of people getting the care they need,” she says. “When a patient needs an ICU bed, it takes us two to three hours because they’re all full. Usually it takes 10 minutes.”

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To her dismay, many members of the public seem unaware of the distress in their local hospitals. And Dunn’s hope that this would propel more people to get vaccinated — Utah’s vaccination rate is about 53% — have not materialized. “We’re just seeing a really low, slow uptake,” she says.

Meanwhile, Colorado’s governor, Jared Polis, has issued orders that allow hospitals to turn away some patients if necessary and that clarify when hospitals can activate the state’s crisis standards of care plan, due to the crush of patients filling up intensive care units.

“We have all these COVID-positive patients, but we also have a lot of other patients that during our last major surge we weren’t seeing,” says Dr. Michelle Barron, medical director of infection control and prevention at UCHealth, Colorado’s largest health system.

The backlog of other patients, often people who delayed care, and the staffing shortages have put their hospitals in a precarious position. Colorado has vaccinated more than 60% of its population against COVID-19, putting it ahead of many other neighboring states. But Barron says that still leaves plenty of people who are potentially susceptible to infection or that can have complications because their immune system is compromised.

“The vast majority of the patients that we’re seeing really are those that are still unvaccinated,” she says.

Lessons learned from a Vermont surge
Even some states that had set the standard for successful vaccination campaigns have weathered a big wave of infections this fall.

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