ST. LOUIS – Unvaccinated Americans continue representing the greatest number of new COVID-19 patients needing hospitalization.
The influx is inundating hospitals already overwhelmed by staffing shortages. Right now, the country has seen more than four million new COVID-19 cases and close to 27,000 new COVID-related deaths in August alone.
This makes August one of the worst months of the pandemic to date, but as the delta variant continues causing hospitalizations to spike.
Medical facilities nationwide are now facing a new concern, oxygen shortages. The problem is forcing some cities to tap into their supplies of liquid oxygen used to treat drinking water.
Leaders are urging people to limit the amount of H-2-0 they use by scaling back on watering lawns and washing cars.
There are a record number of children in St. Louis area hospitals and ICUs battling COVID-19. The number of children with COVID-19 in the U.S. hit a record number as hospitals across the country are stretched to capacity fighting outbreaks caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant
“This is really different from the first few waves we experienced because Delta is much more contagious. We have seen that more transmitted from kids to other people. Kids are infecting kids “ said Dr. Clay Duangan, BJC Health.
There are close to 30 children under age 18 in St. Louis hospitals with COVID-19 cases and 10 of those children are in intensive care.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, which includes four health care systems, says the numbers of sick children are the highest they’ve ever been since the task force started keeping pediatric numbers.
“Those are big numbers. First time we were down in single digits in total cases and we a handful that went to ICUs, this is really a different pattern,” Dr. Duangan said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of students in the Fort Zumwalt School District in St. Charles County are in quarantine a week after the first day of school.
The district’s dashboard shows more than 350 students are in quarantine across 27 schools. Masks remain optional across the district. Some parents have decided to switch to virtual learning now.
“It seems that we got to this point before school got ramped up. I suspect that now that school is back in session, we are going to see more cases from areas where school boards have been unable to put mask restrictions in place,“ Dr. Duangan said.
Health experts say children under the age of 12 are particularly vulnerable to infection as they are not yet eligible for the vaccine.