Hospitalizations involving COVID hit new record high, but are they all legit?

The Department of Health and Human Services reported on Tuesday that COVID hospitalizations have reached a new record high of 145,982.

The new number replaces a previous high of 142,000 in January 2021, when most people could not yet receive vaccinations.

The numbers follow exponential highs in new cases, reaching over one million per day for most of the last week. The variant largely responsible, omicron, is causing large numbers of mostly mild COVID cases, but HHS pointed out that even a small number of those cases turning severe will cause hospitalizations to rise.

The agency pointed out that most people in the hospital are unvaccinated, for what that’s worth.

Unvaccinated or unboosted

Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease doctor at Emory University and at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, reported last week that 80 to 90% of those he is seeing are unvaccinated, or are vaccinated but not boostered and may have an underlying condition, according to the Hill.

Del Rio also said that about one-third of those in the hospital who have tested positive for COVID-19 are actually there for another reason besides COVID.

But because so many people, including hospital workers, have COVID-19, hospitals are dealing with crippling staff shortages that are making treatment more difficult for those that do need it.

“The percent in the ICU is much lower [than previous surges], but that doesn’t mean that we’re not getting overwhelmed,” del Rio said.

“Pandemic of the unvaccinated?”

Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy pressed Secretary Jen Psaki Monday about whether a high number of breakthrough omicron cases among the vaccinated would lead President Joe Biden to stop calling it a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

“I understand the science says that vaccines prevent death. But I’m triple vaxxed, still got COVID. You’re triple vaxxed, still got COVID,” Doocy told Psaki. “Why is the president still referring to this as a pandemic of the unvaccinated?”

Psaki quickly responded that “You’re 17 times more likely to go to the hospital if you’re not vaccinated, 20 times more likely to die.”

Further CDC information also said those who had not received a booster were 10 times more likely to be infected with COVID than those who had gotten a booster.

Doocy was still skeptical of the White House messaging, which continues to suggest that getting a vaccine is going to keep people from getting COVID.

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