Patients “with COVID” who are admitted for other reasons still strain hospitals

As new COVID strain rages, a look inside a packed Louisiana hospital: 'We  haven't had many wins' | Coronavirus |

Some pundits claim that current reporting on COVID hospital admissions is overly pessimistic, failing to account for a distinction between patients admitted explicitly “for COVID”, and those admitted for other reasons who also, incidentally, have COVID. The latter now comprise up to half of some health systems’ COVID patients.

In an article in The Atlantic this week, reporter Ed Yong rejects this dichotomy, on the grounds that it ignores both the significant number of people for whom COVID exacerbates underlying chronic conditions, as well as the challenges any patient with COVID poses to hospitals. As he points out, those patients still require isolation and special safety measures, further worsening the burden on an already-strained staff.

The Gist: For hospitals, dealing with endemic COVID will mean establishing strategies to manage COVID-positive patients without postponing much needed non-emergency care, and without overly taxing a stretched workforce. Downplaying the burden of “incidental COVID” is not helpful, but sustaining operations while on perpetual crisis footing will prove untenable.

U.S. surpasses Italy for most confirmed covid-19 deaths in the world

US coronavirus deaths projected to peak Sunday | TheHill

The United States’ covid-19 death tally is now the highest in the world, eclipsing Italy’s toll on Saturday, despite experts calling the U.S. figure “an underestimation.”

The U.S. toll is now 19,424, with nearly half a million confirmed cases, surpassing Italy’s total of 18,849. Italy has 147,577 infected with the virus.

Despite the country’s large elderly population, experts had previously forecast that Italy’s staggering toll wasn’t an outlier so much as a preview of what other countries could expect. The steady climb of cases has slowed, and the Mediterranean country is now preparing to reopen.

Friday marked the highest single-day total yet with at least 2,056 people reported dead from complications related to covid-19 in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to a Washington Post tally. The virus claimed about 1,900 lives in the United States each of the past three days.

The country’s first death from the virus was reported on Feb. 29 in Washington state. Less than a month later, 1,000 people coronavirus-related deaths had been recorded across the nation.

Experts and government leaders predict the apex is still looming and may come mid-April.

Experts fear the toll is worse than the numbers provided by Johns Hopkins University, given a lack of transparency in China and elsewhere, and the difficulty of confirming cause of death, especially outside hospitals.

In addition, a lack of widespread testing has likely contributed to an undercount of U.S. deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counts only deaths in which the virus is confirmed in a laboratory test. It’s not known how accurate testing is.