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These 10 States Have "Overwhelming" COVID 

"It's gonna get worse," virus expert Dr. Michael Osterholm said about the upcoming holidays.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

If you think coronavirus isn't that bad in America, not only are you wrong but "it's gonna get worse," virus expert Dr. Michael Osterholm said about the upcoming holidays, speaking with CNN's Anderson Cooper. "We have a very interesting thing happening in this country, much like we see around the world…. you're seeing now the emergence of a new surge, which is kind of merging with this existing surge. And I think this really spells real trouble for the country." So where is COVID the worst right now, and how can you stay safe? Read on to discover the areas Osterholm mentioned—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Indiana Emergency Departments are "Overwhelmed"

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA skyline over Soliders' and Sailors' Monument at dusk.

"Last week, the Indiana State Department of Health reported 2,865 patients were being hospitalized for COVID-19 — the greatest number since last January — and IU Health, the state's largest health system, requested support in many of its hospitals from the Indiana National Guard," reports the South Bend Tribune. "Even before the state reached new records last week, health officials in northern Indiana's District 2 Hospital Preparedness Planning Committee put out a stark warning: 'Nearly every hospital in our region has reached capacity or is exceeding capacity. … Our already busy emergency departments are now overwhelmed.'"


Ohioans are Urged to Take Action and Get Boosted ASAP

Columbus, Ohio, USA skyline on the Scioto River.

"On the heels of Ohio confirming its first cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is urging Ohioans to take action. DeWine cited concerning COVID-19 trends as to why it's more important than ever to get the vaccine. The governor said the omicron variant coming to Ohio is not shocking, and as of now, the state is still riding a wave from the delta variant," reports NBC 4. He's focusing on boosters. "These are already people who have said, 'I believe in science, I believe it's important to get vaccinated,'" DeWine said. "We just urge them this week, use this week as the opportunity to get the booster shot."

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Pennsylvania Hospital Has More COVID Than Last Year

Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

If you came to his hospital. "what you would see is that all of our beds are full. And we have many patients that are in our emergency room that are waiting to be admitted. The bulk of these patients do not have COVID. But the numbers of patients that do have COVID are producing a tremendous burden on our entire system. And we know that this is primarily due to unvaccinated individuals," said Dr. Jeffrey Jahre is an infectious disease expert with St. Luke's University Health Network, which is based in Bethlehem, Pa., on NPR. "Currently, the numbers of patients that we have with COVID in our hospital actually is higher than it was last year, when we didn't have vaccinations. And of course, we're heading into a season where we can expect that there is likely to be even greater numbers. So we don't know where this is going to peak off. And we haven't even discussed whether the omicron virus is going to have any implications for us."


Omicron is Spreading Rapidly in New York

woman with mask walking in nearly empty new york street

"The highly infectious omicron variant is rapidly increasing prevalence across the U.S. but even more so in New York and New Jersey, where genomic sequencing is detecting it at a rate of about 13% versus 3% nationally, the head of the CDC says," reports NBC New York. "Delta, which early evidence indicates appears to lead to more severe cases than the new variant that first emerged in South Africa, remains America's predominant strain (96.7% of all sequenced positive COVID samples) and is fueling the nationwide hospitalization spike, Dr. Rochelle Walensky said on Today Tuesday." While Omicron may or may not be less severe than Delta, "you still have a lot of people who are getting sick," said Walensky, who urged vaccination and boosters.

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Michigan Schools are Having Outbreaks

Historic buildings in Downtown Detroit - Michigan, United States

Already under siege, "the State of Michigan reported 47 new school-related COVID-19 outbreaks on Monday," reported WXYZ. "The new outbreaks come at a time when Michigan is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases. Michigan is still considered a COVID-19 hotspot after weeks of battling what doctors say is our fourth surge. Come Christmas, cases are expected to rise even more as our state battles not one, but two coronavirus variants."


Wisconsin Hospitalizations are at Their Highest Since January

Wisconsin Welcome sign at Marinette WI

"COVID-19 hospitalizations in Wisconsin are at their highest level since January of 2021 when the vaccine was just being rolled out," reports WTMJ. "Monday's numbers from the Wisconsin Hospital Association show 1,714 people are in the hospital with the virus across the state, and 443 of them are in the Intensive Care unit."

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Arizona Hospitals are Too Full For Some Patients

Phoenix Arizona with its downtown lit by the last rays of sun at the dusk.

"Hospitals hoped to see some relief this holiday, but officials say they're in the exact same situation as last December, even with the vaccine available for everyone.

Valleywise Health said it has so little room available; some patients are waiting in the ER for more than 24 hours before they are able to get a bed," reports AZ Family. "This continues to put a strain on our resources within the health systems and necessitate that we make some changes," Dr. Michael White, the Chief Clinical Officer for Valleywise Health, told the website, which added: "He said the hospital is delaying surgeries on a case-by-case basis."


The Navy Has Been Called in to Help New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA downtown cityscape at twilight.

"Dozens of US Navy medics have deployed to New Mexico to treat a Delta variant-fueled surge in COVID-19 patients as part of a military operation to treat virus hotspots across Western and Midwest states.

New Mexico is suffering one of the highest levels of new coronavirus infections in the country, its hospitals reaching record capacity levels," reports Channel News Asia. "I'm not seeing lots of vaccinated people, we're seeing the population that is unvaccinated with a very aggressive form of COVID running through it," said Navy Lieutenant Commander Charles Volk, a pulmonary intensivist, told the website "as he sat in the hospital's intensive care unit."

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Kansas is a "Sitting Duck" for COVID

Wichita, Kansas, USA downtown skyline at dusk.

"Local health professionals say Kansas City is a 'sitting duck' as cases caused by the delta variant spike and omicron looms," reports KCUR. "COVID-19 cases are rising at an alarming rate in Kansas City and surrounding areas and local health professionals are concerned. In Kansas City, test positivity rates among most age groups are in the teens or upper teens, which Schmidtke said indicates cases are likely drastically higher than data suggests." "On both the Kansas as well as the Missouri side of the river, we are probably undercounting cases by a large margin," Dr. Amber Schmidtke, chair of the Division of Natural Sciences at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth and author of the blog, "The COVID Digest," told the station. "The danger in that is that you can't see how big the problem is which makes it harder to control."


New Jersey Hospitalizations Rose 25%

Newark, New Jersey, USA skyline on the Passaic River.

"The number of people hospitalized in New Jersey due to COVID-19 rose 25% in less than a week, and Gov. Phil Murphy says infection rates in schools are rising too. The rate of students infected with COVID per 1,000 people rose more than 80% from the first week of November to the last, Murphy said in a Monday briefing. For staff? The rate rose more than 160% over that same period," reports NBC New York. "To be sure, the state is still in a much better position than it was this time a year ago, thanks to vaccinations. Even so, the number of new positive PCR tests in the state has more than doubled in the last four weeks, according to the governor's data."


How to Stay Safe Out There

Nurse with face mask sitting at home with senior woman and injecting covid 19 vaccine.

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
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