CATES: COVID now affects young people
On August 14, 1,900 children were hospitalized with COVID in the United States according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
On August 15, 1,800 more children were hospitalized with COVID. In other words, 3,700 of our children were hospitalized in two days last weekend for something that is now largely preventable. Most hospitalizations are now in people under the age of 50, with people in their 30s setting hospital admissions records due to the latest increase. The average person hospitalized for COVID right now is 44 years old. In previous outbreaks, the average age was over 65. The reason is very simple. The elderly have been vaccinated at higher rates.
I can’t say it enough, COVID is horrible. It is by far the worst disease I have seen in almost 30 years of working in the healthcare industry.
Its immediate effects, long term effects and collateral damage affect a large number of people in so many negative ways. Far too many people are dying, and they are dying in terrible pain. Those who are hospitalized and survive have their health affected for months, many will have problems for the rest of their lives because of the damage COVID has caused to their system.
It has had serious ramifications for our economy, and healthcare and healthcare professionals will never be the same again. And this knowledge comes from the last wave – this wave is worse. It is worse because it is largely preventable with vaccination. It’s worse because of the effect it has on children, the most vulnerable people in our community.
Just to give you some perspective. As of the week of June 8 in the state of Texas, there were 131 confirmed cases of COVID. Just over a month later, on July 18, we had 4,478 cases in the state for that week.
As of August 8, we had 25,971 cases in Texas. Not that week, that day. On January 15, the worst day of the last wave, we had 23,196 people diagnosed with COVID. We have worked up to that number over the weeks.
This push is hitting harder and faster than it did last winter. And, again, this primarily affects young people. The three hospitals here in Odessa and Midland are overwhelmed with COVID patients. We are calling other hospitals hundreds of miles away and in other states to find beds for our COVID patients, with very little success. More than 96% of patients hospitalized in this community with COVID are not vaccinated.
Health care ethicists are very concerned that doctors will have to make decisions as happened in New York City at the start of the pandemic. They’re going to have to choose between patients when it comes to who gets the scarce resources when hospitals are overwhelmed.
One of the debates among these ethicists is whether these decisions should include whether a patient has been vaccinated or not. For me, this is a decision that no health care provider should have to make. No provider should ever have to choose which patients receive ventilators and hospital beds. No family should ever have to hear this news from a supplier.
That we are in this situation again is so disheartening. Everyone in this community, including our children, who can get the vaccine should get the vaccine. There are several places to get vaccinated; vaccines are free. Wear a mask. Social distance. Wash your hands frequently and do not touch your face. Stay home and away from others if you are sick. We have the power to stop this devastation. I beg you, please, please help me.