U.S. faces winter wave as COVID hospital admissions climb in 14 states
As winter approaches, fourteen U.S. states are grappling with a significant surge in coronavirus hospitalizations, according to the latest CDC maps. The overall increase in the country stands at 8.6 percent, with 16,239 new admissions in the week ending November 11. The upper Midwest, parts of the South Atlantic, and southern Mountain regions have witnessed higher spikes. This rise aligns with health officials’ expectations, attributing it to colder weather fostering increased virus transmission.
“Colder weather tends to lead to an increased spread in viruses and other infections,” notes the CDC. A 2020 study even suggests that the COVID virus thrives longer in cold, dry conditions, emphasizing the seasonal challenge.
Hospitalizations had steadily risen since late June, peaking in early September but remaining stable around 15,000 through October and November. While this is significantly lower than the January 2021 peak of over 150,600, the latest data reveals concerning trends in several states.
Vermont leads with a 70 percent rise, followed by Iowa and Alaska at 60 percent. Montana, Minnesota, and Hawaii have seen increases of over 30 percent. Virginia, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Arizona, and Washington D.C. report over 20 percent hikes.
“While the magnitude of the rises in some states might be startling, this may be because they represent a relatively low number of hospital admissions,” clarifies the report. For instance, Vermont, with a 70 percent increase, had just 43 hospitalizations in a week.
Florida and Massachusetts saw moderate decreases of 10 to 20 percent, while Rhode Island and New Jersey witnessed substantial drops of 33.3 percent and 34.2 percent, respectively. Nationally, there’s a 1.8 percent rise in COVID-19 patients in intensive-care unit beds, signaling more severe cases requiring ventilation.
As localized surges prompted institutions to reinstate mask mandates during the summer, the evolving situation underscores the importance of remaining vigilant and adaptable in the face of shifting infection rates.