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Authors: Azra K. Nurkic, Chelsea Raubenheimer, Bridget Lavin

Along with the spike in COVID-19 diagnoses, hospitalization rates have soared across the United States, putting an even greater strain on ICU workers. The Dakotas continue to struggle, currently neck and neck for the highest case count and highest hospitalization rate, per capita, in all of the country. Texas, on the other hand, is leading for overall cumulative hospitalized patients. Reports out of El Paso this weekend paint a grim picture. Inmates are now being contracted to move an excess of bodies into mobile morgues.
This third wave of hospitalizations, the worst that America has seen yet, is wreaking similar havoc in other states as well. Iowa is now approaching a critical milestone for ICU bed capacity, just at the cusp of the limit needed to safely handle an expected surge in COVID-19 patients. Projections show the situation is likely to get worse as we enter the holiday season. States like New Mexico are back on strict lockdowns, similar to what was seen back in the early days of the pandemic, and many other states are likely to follow in the weeks to come.
On a positive note, news broke this week of an indication that masks also protect the wearer from exposure to COVID-19, not just the other, offering another strong case for universal mask wearing. The question remains, however, if the politicization of masks will continue to hamper recommendations from the scientific community. Finally, this week also saw the release of encouraging results from vaccine tests by both Pfizer and Moderna, who have shown their vaccines to be 90% and 95% effective, respectively. The timeline and process for vaccine rollout remains unclear, but the results do signal that a vaccine could help us once and for all see an end to this pandemic.
Additional stats from this week include:

– 1 in 29 Americans has now tested positive for COVID-19 (compared to 1 in 78 in July)

Every minute of last week, approximately 100 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with COVID-19. Every minute, 1 person died from the disease.

– U.S. surpassed 11 million cumulative cases this week, adding more than 1 million cases in this week alone

– With 246,083 deaths, and the continuous surge, US has set a new daily record of reported cases: 181,196 on November 13

69,864 is the current record for hospitalizations in the U.S., reached on November 15

– S.Dakota, Nevada and Nebraska are the three U.S. states with high hospitalizations rates, each seeing case and hospitalization surges this week

Iowa is currently experiencing an exponential growth in cases with 1 in 734 residents testing positive last week alone.

1,279 Iowans are currently hospitalized for COVID-19, which is 1 in every 2,467 residents of the state

– The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are activating the first phase of their surge plan, which includes adding intensive care unit beds

Interested to learn more?

Explore our other COVID-19 weekly infographics here


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