Although COVID-19 vaccines remain effective in preventing severe disease, recent data suggest their effectiveness at preventing infection or severe illness wanes over time, especially in people ages 65 years and older.
The recent emergence of the Omicron variant further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19.
“With health care workers out sick with Omicron themselves and the virus compounding pre-existing staff shortages (in part due to burnout from the pandemic), hospitals have less capacity to care for patients than before. And fewer staffed beds available means a smaller number of COVID patients could overwhelm a hospital.” (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/01/21/us/covid-hospitalizations.html)
The number of staffed hospital and ICU beds available has steadily been declining since November 2020.
There are now 4% fewer staffed hospital beds available and 7% fewer staffed ICU beds.
With huge patient loads, Omicron is worse for hospitals despite the lower overall severity.
Only by taking the necessary precautions including masking in indoor public spaces, vaccines/booster shots, etc. can we alleviate the burden on our hospitals, schools, and employers and insure that those infected get the best treatment possible.