Dec. 27, 2021 -- COVID-19 hospitalizations are beginning to rise as Omicron variant cases surge and set daily records in several states.

More than 71,000 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized across the U.S. as of Monday morning, according to the latest data from the Department of Health and Human Services. Nearly 10% of inpatient beds are in use for COVID-19, while 71% of overall inpatient beds are being used.

About a week ago, more than 69,000 people were hospitalized for COVID-19, according to UPI. At the beginning of December, about 58,000 COVID-19 patients were in hospitals.

During the peak of the Delta variant, more than 100,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, UPI reported. Some regions of the U.S. had no beds available at that time.

On Monday, New York had the highest number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 with 5,772 patients, followed by Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California, and Texas.

The U.S. is now averaging about 200,000 new COVID-19 cases each day, marking a 47% increase from last week and the highest daily numbers since January.

“I think we’re going to see half a million cases a day -- easy -- sometime over the next week to 10 days,” Jonathan Reiner, MD, a professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences, told CNN on Sunday.

Public health officials aren’t yet sure how the surge in infections will translate to hospitalizations and deaths in coming weeks. Early data from other countries shows that Omicron is highly contagious but may carry a lower risk of hospitalization than the Delta variant. But the sheer number of cases could lead to a higher number of hospitalizations nationwide and serious health outcomes.

“Although hospitalizations may be less, that doesn’t mean zero,” William Schaffner, MD, a professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told CNN on Friday.

“There are many places in the country where hospitalizations are now increasing,” he said.

About a dozen states have seen at least a 10% uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past week, CNN reported. In addition, pediatric hospitalizations in New York have quadrupled in recent weeks, particularly among unvaccinated children ages 5-11.

Show Sources

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “HHS Protect Inpatient Bed Dashboard.”

UPI: “U.S. hospitalizations rise to 71,458 among COVID-19 Omicron surge.”

CNN: “Between Christmas and New Year’s, doctors expect the US Omicron surge to grow,” “Daily Covid-19 case rates have now surpassed Delta’s surge. Hospitalizations so far have yet to match.”

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