Western U.S. states continue to be hit badly by the Delta COVID variant, with major hospitals beginning to ration the services they provide as virus patients take over multiple floors and soldiers are brought in to support staff.
In Idaho, public health leaders announced statewide rationing of care services, with only emergency treatments available. Similar measures are in place in individual hospital areas across Alaska and Montana.
Across the globe, South Korea is in the grips of a major COVID wave, China has vaccinated over one billion of its citizens, several European countries are introducing COVID passes, and the U.K. is set to announce a loosening of international travel restrictions.
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fter a fierce battle and a double lung transplant, 24-year-old Blake Bargatze is encouraging people to get vaccinated.
In March, Bargatze attended a concert in his home state of Florida, he told the Baltimore, Maryland-based news station WBAL-TV. He was unvaccinated, and although he wore a mask, he didn’t anticipate the large crowds.
“There were way too many [people] and I got really hot, so I took [my mask] off, which probably wasn’t the wisest decision on my part,” Bargatze said.
Two days later, Bargatze fell ill and was diagnosed with COVID-19.
” I had a really bad headache and body aches and after that, I started having a really high fever—went from 102 to 103 and up to 104 [degrees],” he said.
He was admitted to the hospital on April 10, where he was intubated. His mother, Cheryl Nuclo, then had him flown to a hospital in Atlanta, where she lived. Doctors told him his prognosis wasn’t good.
New Zealand extends Australia travel restrictions until November
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern continues with her government’s zero-COVID strategy by further suspending quarantine-free travel.
15 new cases were announced yesterday – much lower than most days last month but still too high for the government to loosen restrictions.
“We have made great progress to contain our current outbreak and are working hard to ease restrictions next week. Reopening quarantine-free travel with Australia at this point could put those gains at risk,” COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said in a statement.
‘Exceptionally challenging times’: Scottish hospitals and care homes deal with COVID surge
10 states face healthcare rationing in coming weeks
Intensive care unit beds are filling up to between 90 percent and 100 percent capacity in some places and many hospitals are being forced to consider enacting “crisis standards of care”, considered a last resort system of prioritizing patients who are most likely to survive in a disaster situation and rationing the dwindling hospital resources available.
Idaho is the only state so far to enact a statewide “crisis standards of care” so far – but Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, and Arkansas all have 10 percent or less of their ICU beds available.
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Several U.S. states are deciding whether to ration healthcare from next week as the number of COVID patients overwhelms their ability to provide other services. Elsewhere, thousands of military personnel across the country are now assisting hospital staff.
Follow Newsweek’s liveblog throughout Friday for all the latest.