COVID hospitalizations accelerate for fourth straight week

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By Usa Express Daily

New COVID-19 hospitalizations have accelerated for a fourth straight week, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data now shows.

A total of 10,320 patients in the U.S. were newly hospitalized with COVID-19 for the week ending August 5, according to the figures published Monday, an increase of 14.3% from the week before. 

Levels remain far below the summer peak that strained hospitals at this time last year, when 42,813 admissions were reported for the week of August 6, 2022.

Where are COVID hospital trends worst?

Hospitals across the Southeast are continuing to report the nation’s highest rate of COVID-19 admissions. In the region spanning Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, 4.58 new patients were reported per 100,000 residents.

The Southeast has also been reporting the highest rate of COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents. Weekly infections are now close to the worst rates seen during 2021’s summer wave in the region, but below more recent peaks.

Nationwide, data collected from emergency rooms suggests COVID-19 levels have been highest in recent weeks among seniors ages 75 and older, similar to what was seen during last winter’s peak.

Emergency room visits for children ages 0 to 11 years old have also climbed steeply. Measured as a percentage of all visits in the age group, nationwide COVID-19 rates in these kids are now tied with seniors for the first time in a year. Other CDC data suggests visits from the youngest kids, ages 0 to 1 year old, are seeing the steepest increase.

In some parts of the country — like the region spanning Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas — the share of COVID-19 ER visits involving children ages 0 to 11 have already far surpassed older adults. 

It is unclear what has driven the steep increase in ER visits from kids. A CDC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Is the EG.5 variant to blame?

Authorities say EG.5, the current variant on the rise, has not been driving an increase in severe disease any different from previous strains. 

EG.5 made up 17.3% of infections nationwide in a CDC estimate earlier this month. New estimates are expected to be published Friday.

Despite its “low” public health risk relative to other recent Omicron descendants, the World Health Organization said on August 9 that the strain could be on track to outcompete its XBB variant siblings. 

“EG.5 may cause a rise in case incidence and become dominant in some countries or even globally,” the U.N. agency said.

Health officials say the new COVID vaccine and booster shots expected to roll out this September are targeted to XBB-related strains of the virus, and will likely boost protection for EG.5 as well.

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