The amount of COVID-19 cases are spiking at the moment resulting in an equally large spike in hospitalizations, also resulting in a rise of deaths when it comes to the seven-day average. All of this in spite of the fact that we’ve had 358 million doses of the vaccine that have been administered throughout the United States.
As the National Review’s Jim Geraghty wrote, these hospitalization spikes are climbing even in places where vaccination rates are high. That means that while you’d think these climbing hospitalization rates would be relegated to red states, blue states hospitals are becoming overwhelmed as well.
Hawaii has 54 percent of its population fully vaccinated with 72 percent having one shot. Regardless, Hawaii’s private hospital system is “functioning at or near capacity this week amid an alarming surge of coronavirus cases on the islands.”
Oregon is seeing much the same problem with 56.8 percent being fully vaccinated and 62 percent having at least one shot. Regardless, it hasn’t saved them.
“Oregon hospitals on Wednesday had just 41 adult intensive care beds available statewide, That’s 6 percent of the state’s total supply of 652 intensive care beds,” reported The Lund Report. “Availability varies from hospital to hospital and region to region. Some hospitals, especially in southern Oregon, are entirely out of intensive care beds.”
Washington and Vermont are seeing spikes, as Geraghty wrote. While Vermont, the number vaccinated state in the nation, is doing fine on hospitalizations, it’s still seeing a steep increase:
Washington state is 59 percent fully vaccinated, 66 percent of the population with one shot — about tenth-best out of the 50 states. Yet that state’s hospitals are characterized as “near the breaking point.”
“The increase in COVID-19 cases in Washington state has brought a growing number of infected patients to medical centers seeking care along with a spike in visits to the intensive care unit as many regional hospitals say they are at or near full capacity, state health officials report. Meanwhile, KOMO News confirmed that St. Peter Providence Hospital in Olympia had to divert ambulances on Thursday saying, “Current inpatient census is extremely high.”
Vermont stands as the nation’s vaccination champion, where more than 67 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, and more than 75 percent have at least one dose. Once you take out children under age 11, who cannot yet get vaccinated, more than 85 percent of Vermont’s residents have at least one dose. And yet even that state reported 758 cases this week, a 41 percent increase over last week. Vermont’s hospitals are in relatively good shape — 29 people hospitalized with COVID-19, and just nine in the ICU — but the surge in cases demonstrates that the Delta variant is just spectacularly contagious, even in a region where the vaccination rate is particularly high.
There are a lot of takeaways here. For one, for the bluster and chest-puffing about getting vaccinated, it’s clearly not saving people and variants are going to do their best to mutate and get around blockades we put up in order to thrive among its hosts. It’s going to be hard to convince people to proceed with getting vaccinated and taking the risks that come along with it when you’re just going to catch it and get sick anyway.
At this point, the personal choice of getting vaccinated or not getting vaccinated shouldn’t be looked at as a societal make-or-break decision. Even vaccinated, you still stand a good chance of getting it and the vast majority of us will have to endure the effects and come out the other side with antibodies and immunity. Again, get immunized if you think it’s for you. Don’t if you don’t want to, just be mindful about what you do if you get it.
The other is that higher vaccination rates aren’t going to save your state from overwhelmed hospitals. At this point, we should just accept the fact that COVID is incredibly virulent but your chances of surviving it are still pretty high. Higher than the Alpha variant, in fact.
We used to know what to do when we would get sick with a viral infection; we’d get a lot of bed rest, drink a lot of fluids, eat chicken noodle soup, and stuff ourselves with medications that treat the symptoms while we wait for our bodies to begin overwhelming the virus with its natural defenses. The flu taught us a lot, and we seem to have forgotten a lot of these lessons.
The last takeaway is this: You’re not better than someone else because you got the vaccine. Sure, getting it is a good thing, but it doesn’t make you invincible, and it certainly doesn’t make you morally superior. You’re still subject to the laws of nature. If blue states feel the need to puff out their chest over their vaccination rates, these hospitals being overwhelmed should cause them to let the air out a bit.