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More Than 100,000 People Are Hospitalized With COVID-19, The Most Since January

An emergency room nurse tends to a patient in a hallway at the Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital on Aug. 18 in Houston.
Brandon Bell
Getty Images
An emergency room nurse tends to a patient in a hallway at the Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital on Aug. 18 in Houston.

More than 100,000 people in the country are hospitalized for the coronavirus, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. It's the highest number of hospitalizations seen since January, before the vaccine was widely available to the public.

The data also shows that 30% of intensive care unit beds in hospitals in the country are holding COVID-19 patients.

The rapid rise of the virus and its variants comes as only 51.7% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and 61% have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

States in the South and Northwest are worse

States in the South and Northwest are seeing worse rates than ever before. In Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oregon and Washington, new admissions of COVID-19 patients are at the highest levels since the start of the pandemic.

And in both Florida and Georgia, more than 25% of the inpatient hospital beds are being used for COVID-19 patients. In Mississippi, more than 61% of ICU beds have COVID-19 patients.

The rapid rise in hospitalizations is causing concern for others who may need emergency services, as wait times in emergency rooms now stretch for several hours in some hospitals.

Officials in one Florida county are even urging residents to "consider other options" before calling 911.

The racial disparities are still wide

Throughout the pandemic, the Black and brown communities were hit harder than white people. The more recent surge of hospitalizations is having the same impact.

"Hospitalization rates for non-Hispanic Black people increased faster and has risen higher than other groups," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

In the last week of July, the hospitalization rate for non-Hispanic Black people was the highest of any other racial group. Out of every 100,000 people 11.5 were hospitalized with COVID-19. For non-Hispanic white people, the rate is 4.2 out of every 100,000, a far lower number.

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Deepa Shivaram
Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.
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