As the US prepares to grapple with potential holiday Covid-19 surges, hospitals across the country have reported more than 100,000 patients for the 26th day in a row.
December has been a devastating month for coronavirus spread in the country. More than 63,000 Americans have died so far this month -- the most since the pandemic began -- bringing the total to more than 333,000 people lost to the virus in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. With a total of 19.1 million people infected, there are now 118,720 people currently hospitalized, the Covid Tracking project reported.
One hospital in Southern California is facing the possibility of rationing the limited number of ICU beds and treatment equipment due to the surge of cases, meaning health care providers may have to make decisions of who gets treatment and who does not, infectious disease specialist Dr. Kimberly Shriner told CNN on Sunday.
Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena is preparing for the "ultimate triage" if cases continue to climb in the coming weeks, Shriner said.
“We have a limited number of ventilators, we have a limited number of ICU beds,” Shriner explained, adding that the hospital has nurses who normally take care of one or two patients now taking care of three or four.
And with waves of holiday travel, health experts predict cases will only grow. More than 1.1 million people were screened at airports on Saturday, according to the TSA. More than 616,000 were screened on Christmas Day alone, and hundreds of thousands more traveled in the days leading up to the holiday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci described the potential impacts of the holiday season as a "surge upon a surge."
"If you look at the slope, the incline of cases that we've experienced as we've gone into the late fall and soon to be early winter, it is really quite troubling," Fauci said.
"As we get into the next few weeks," he added, "it might actually get worse."