Hospitals across the country are reaching capacity, the result not only of increasing COVID-19 cases, but also side effects of the pandemic, from delayed surgeries that are now urgent to mental health problems among children.
Exacerbating the problem, hospitals are facing new staffing challenges as doctors, nurses and other support staff buckle under the pressures.
Hospital leaders are calling on the Biden administration to help by extending more financial aid, importing medical staff from abroad, and reducing regulatory hurdles to help move patients who aren’t critically ill out of much-needed beds.
Many of the hospitals that are hardest hit right now are clustered in the southeastern part of the United States, which has lower vaccination rates than other parts of the country and has seen cases rise most rapidly this summer as the virus’s delta variant spreads.
In Missouri, for example, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has nearly quadrupled since the end of May to more than 2,400. Read more