Alarming

health

COVID hospitalizations surge as pandemic enters alarming new phase in U.S.

Americans went to the polls Tuesday under the shadow of a resurging pandemic, with an alarming increase in cases nationwide and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 reaching record highs in a growing number of states.

While daily infections were rising in all but three states, the surge was most pronounced in the Midwest and Southwest.

Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and New Mexico all reported record high hospitalizations this week. Nebraska’s largest hospitals started limiting elective surgeries and looked to bring in nurses from other states to cope with the surge. Hospital officials in Iowa and Missouri warned bed capacity could soon be overwhelmed.

The resurgence loomed over candidates and voters, fearful of both the virus itself and the economic toll of any new shutdowns to control its spread. The debate over how far to take economically costly measures has divided a country already sharply polarized over President Donald Trump’s turbulent four years in office.

The infection rate is definitely a leading indicator for hospitalizations, and the hospitalization rate is a leading indicator of mortality.

Meanwhile, Iowa hospital officials warned their facilities and staff could be overwhelmed without serious efforts to curtail the virus spread. The state’s seven-day rolling average of positive cases reached 36.4 percent over the weekend, the third-highest in the nation behind South Dakota and Wyoming, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations reached a record 730 on Monday.

Suresh Gunasekaran, CEO of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, said Iowa is entering its third peak, one that is higher than previous ones in May and July. He said his biggest concern is that this peak comes at the beginning of the cold weather season, when the flu and other respiratory conditions typically increase hospitalizations.

“The infection rate is definitely a leading indicator for hospitalizations, and the hospitalization rate is a leading indicator of mortality,” Gunasekaran said.

Related: Pediatric cases now account for 11% of all cases in the U.S., up from 2% in April.

Health officials in Nebraska said hospitalizations have doubled in recent weeks, reaching a record 613 on Sunday.

“No doubt if this trend continues — not just at our hospitals — but every hospital in the state could be at capacity in a very short period of time,” Dr. Cary Ward, chief medical officer for CHI Health’s network of 14 hospitals across eastern Nebraska and western Iowa said during a video call with reporters.

In Missouri, leaders of several rural hospitals raised alarms about bed capacity during a conference call Monday with Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who drew renewed fire from his Democratic election challenger for his refusal to issue a statewide mask mandate. The state health department reported 1,659 hospitalizations statewide, surpassing by 10 the previous record set a day earlier. Among the five additional deaths reported Monday was a 13-year-old boy, the first child under 14 to die from the virus in Missouri.

In Colorado, officials said more residents have been hospitalized with the

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health

Covid hospitalizations surge as virus enters alarming new phase in U.S.

Americans went to the polls Tuesday under the shadow of a resurging pandemic, with an alarming increase in cases nationwide and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 reaching record highs in a growing number of states.

While daily infections were rising in all but three states, the surge was most pronounced in the Midwest and Southwest.

Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and New Mexico all reported record high hospitalizations this week. Nebraska’s largest hospitals started limiting elective surgeries and looked to bring in nurses from other states to cope with the surge. Hospital officials in Iowa and Missouri warned bed capacity could soon be overwhelmed.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

The resurgence loomed over candidates and voters, fearful of both the virus itself and the economic toll of any new shutdowns to control its spread. The debate over how far to take economically costly measures has divided a country already sharply polarized over President Donald Trump’s turbulent four years in office.

Meanwhile, Iowa hospital officials warned their facilities and staff could be overwhelmed without serious efforts to curtail the virus spread. The state’s seven-day rolling average of positive cases reached 36.4 percent over the weekend, the third-highest in the nation behind South Dakota and Wyoming, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations reached a record 730 on Monday.

Suresh Gunasekaran, CEO of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, said Iowa is entering its third peak, one that is higher than previous ones in May and July. He said his biggest concern is that this peak comes at the beginning of the cold weather season, when the flu and other respiratory conditions typically increase hospitalizations.

“The infection rate is definitely a leading indicator for hospitalizations, and the hospitalization rate is a leading indicator of mortality,” Gunasekaran said.

Health officials in Nebraska said hospitalizations have doubled in recent weeks, reaching a record 613 on Sunday.

“No doubt if this trend continues — not just at our hospitals — but every hospital in the state could be at capacity in a very short period of time,” Dr. Cary Ward, chief medical officer for CHI Health’s network of 14 hospitals across eastern Nebraska and western Iowa said during a video call with reporters.

In Missouri, leaders of several rural hospitals raised alarms about bed capacity during a conference call Monday with Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who drew renewed fire from his Democratic election challenger for his refusal to issue a statewide mask mandate. The state health department reported 1,659 hospitalizations statewide, surpassing by 10 the previous record set a day earlier. Among the five additional deaths reported Monday was a 13-year-old boy, the first child under 14 to die from the virus in Missouri.

In Colorado, officials said more residents have been hospitalized with the coronavirus than at any time since a peak in April. Flags were flying at half-staff in New Mexico, where death from COVID-19 surpassed 1,000 last week and hospitalizations reached a record 380

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health

Alarming new data shows the UK was the ‘sick man’ of Europe even before Covid

Our health is determined by far more than a single virus. This week, a team of scientists in Seattle, together with thousands of contributors around the world, assembled 3.5bn pieces of data to construct what they are calling the Global Burden of Disease. The story this data tells us about Britain is alarming. On some of the most important measures of health, the four nations of the United Kingdom perform worse than our nearest neighbours. Even with coronavirus out of the picture, Britain is the sick man, woman and child of Europe.



a person talking on a cell phone screen with text: Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

The headline findings from the report are clear. In 2019, life expectancy at birth in the UK was 82.9 years for a woman and 79.2 years for a man (the average for both was 81.1 years). These numbers look good, especially when compared with historical figures. In 1950, for example, the average life expectancy at birth for a UK citizen was 68.9 years. The combined effects of economic growth, better education and an improved NHS have delivered an extra 12 years of life. Impressive.

That is until you start comparing the UK with other European countries. When you do this, you find we have seen smaller increases in life expectancy than the western European average – 5.3 years compared with 5.7 years. Spain and Italy, for example, both had an average life expectancy at birth of 83.1 years in 2019. In France, it was 82.9 years, Sweden 82.8 years and Germany 81.2. The western European average life expectancy was a whole one year longer than in the UK.

Another important measure is what’s known as healthy life expectancy – the years of life we spend in good health. The average healthy life expectancy for the UK in 2019 was 68.9 years, meaning that people in the UK spend an average 12.2 years living with some kind of illness. And again, when one compares the UK with other European nations, we perform poorly.

In fact, Britain has the worst healthy life expectancy of any other European country. We come bottom of the league table, alongside Monaco. We’ve seen a slower improvement in healthy life expectancy (3.6 years) than the western European average (5.8 years). And the situation for children is equally bad: the under-five mortality rate in the UK in 2019 was 4.1 deaths per 1,000 live births – one of the worst performances in western Europe, second only to Malta. Whatever metric one chooses, the UK’s health performs worse than comparable European nations.



a person talking on a cell phone screen with text: I’t’s no accident that Liverpool, which scores high on the list of the UK’s most deprived places, was the first region to be classified as very high risk.’


© Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
I’t’s no accident that Liverpool, which scores high on the list of the UK’s most deprived places, was the first region to be classified as very high risk.’

There’s a similar pattern at play across the four nations. Scotland has the lowest life expectancy (79.1 years), followed by Northern Ireland (80.3 years), Wales (80.5 years), and England (81.4 years). What’s going on?

Related: Liverpool Covid admissions will ‘devastate’ other hospital care

The major

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