The number of hospital intensive care unit (ICU) beds used for COVID-19 patients has increased from the number of beds this summer, but overall the country has seen a decline in COVID-19 intensive care bed use since December last year .
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, using data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 14,952 intensive care beds are occupied for COVID-19 patients for the week of December 6 through December 12. Overall, according to the Johns Hopkins University, 78 percent of the intensive care beds in the USA are used.
The number of ICU beds currently in use for COVID-19 patients has increased since the summer as the graph shows that fewer than 10,000 ICU beds are occupied for COVID-19 patients for most of July. However, last week’s numbers show a decrease from the same point in time in 2020.
According to information on the university’s website, 25,507 intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients were occupied in the week of December 7th to 13th, 2020.
Despite an increase in ICU bed use for COVID-19 patients, the percentage of ICU beds occupied has remained roughly the same for all patients since December 2020.
While the United States has seen an overall decline in the number of intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients, some states have seen a slight increase.
In states like Michigan, New Hampshire, and Colorado, over 30 percent of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients are currently occupied, according to HHS data. Data from Johns Hopkins shows that these three states have also seen the number of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients increase over the past week compared to the same weekly range in 2020.
When speaking to News week On Thursday, Brian Brasser, the chief operating officer of Spectrum Health in Michigan, pointed out unvaccinated residents and the Delta variant as the reason for the recent surge in COVID-19 intensive care hospital stays in the state.
The first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the United States on December 14, 2020. Since then, COVID-19 vaccines have been made widely available for different age groups. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 60 percent of the US population are now considered fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“I think what’s different now, luckily we have the vaccines or the numbers would be much, much higher,” said Brasser News week. “Behavior is a little different. Pandemic fatigue is real and so much of society is back to normal in so many different ways.”
As the use of COVID-19 intensive care beds has seen an upward trend in recent months, but has declined overall from 2020, Brasser stated that the situation would “be so much worse” without the widely used vaccine.
In Spectrum Health’s 14 hospitals, Brasser said 86 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and 93 percent of ICU patients with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.