Susan Walker has been calling out-of-state hospitals trying to get help for her husband, who did not get vaccinated against Covid-19 and is now in a medically induced coma.
“We have searched every hospital from the south of Florida to the north part of Florida” trying to find availability, Walker said.
“To transfer him to a hospital in Florida is next to impossible.”
But the situation in particularly worrisome in several Southern states.
And at Houston’s United Memorial Medical Center, “We have no beds. The emergency department is full of patients just waiting to be able to get into the hospital,” Chief of Staff Dr. Joseph Varon said Sunday morning.
“Over the last 12 hours, we have lost more patients than … in the last five to six weeks.”
More hospitalizations and deaths expected
The US now is averaging more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases every day — the highest in almost six months, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Because it can take days or weeks for some Covid-19 cases to lead to hospitalization or death, doctors are bracing for an ugly repeat of scenes from 2020.
“It’s bad. For me, this is a deja vu of what we had last year,” Varon said.
“And the worst part about this is this was foreseeable. And this was preventable. So not only are (we) exhausted, we’re annoyed. And we’re annoyed because people are not doing the right thing.”
And Americans who have already had Covid-19 shouldn’t assume they don’t need a shot.
For adults previously infected with Covid-19, vaccines give better protection against reinfection than natural immunity on its own, according to a CDC study published Friday.
The study suggests people who got Covid-19 in 2020 and didn’t get vaccinated were more than twice as likely to be reinfected in May or June 2021, compared with people who also had Covid-19 but were later fully vaccinated.
“If you have had Covid-19 before, please still get vaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Friday.
There is no minimum time to wait between recovering from Covid-19 and getting vaccinated, the CDC said.
“Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious Delta variant spreads around the country,” Walensky said
Pediatric ICUs are getting overwhelmed
Now some hospitals are seeing younger Covid-19 patients than before.
“Something very scary now is happening in the Southern United States. We are seeing this massive surge of hospitalizations of young people that we’ve never seen before in hospitals across the South,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
“It’s many, many young people, including, I’m sorry to say, many children’s hospital admissions. And for the first time that I can remember, we’re starting to see pediatric intensive care units get overwhelmed, which we never really saw before.”
That’s a 45.7% increase from the previous week in daily new hospitalizations among Covid-19 patients ages 0 to 17.
In the Miami area, “our children’s hospitals are completely overwhelmed,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University.
As of Friday, she said, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami was at 116% occupancy.
“Our pediatricians, the nursing, the staff are exhausted. And the children are suffering,” Marty said.
“It is absolutely devastating … We’ve never seen numbers like this before.”
None of the major pediatric hospitals in the area had beds available, said Amanda Callaway, a spokeswoman for Harris Health System.
The baby’s condition has since stabilized, and she is no longer intubated.
Long-haul Covid victim: ‘I didn’t think I fit the profile’
Quentin Bowen said he had scheduled an appointment to get vaccinated but had to cancel because of work.
The 41-year-old farmer from Nebraska said he assumed delaying his vaccination wasn’t a big deal.
“I didn’t think I fit the profile of who Covid (could) attack,” Bowen said Saturday. “I was healthy. I was younger. And I was going to get (the vaccine). And I figured I’d been exposed to it before and never got it, so I thought I had time.”
But Bowen fell sick with Covid-19 in May. He recalled going to the hospital and asking his friend to tell his kids he loved them.
“I knew I wasn’t coming home that day. And I didn’t know if I’d come home ever,” Bowen said.
He survived a pulmonary embolism but is still struggling with complications three months later.
Bowen urged Americans to get vaccinated as soon as they can, when they still have the power to help preserve their health.
“Once you walk through the hospital door,” he said, “it’s all out of your hands.”
CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas and Matthew Hilk contributed to this report.