On August 8, the city of Austin, Texas issued an emergency alert warning residents that the area had just six intensive care unit (ICU) beds and 313 ventilators available for its population of nearly 2.4 million.
“The situation is critical,” public health medical director Desmar Walkes, MD, said in a statement. “Our hospitals are severely stressed and there is little we can do to alleviate their burden with the surging cases.”
The city’s health department increased its risk level amid the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19 after new hospital admissions increased more than 600% and the number of ICU patients increased 570% since July 4. Over the same period, the number of patients with COVID-19 on ventilators jumped from eight to 102.
Local government is urging residents to get vaccinated – and to stay home and wear masks even if they have already been vaccinated – to avoid “catastrophe.”
In the U.S. overall, new COVID-19 infections have surged to more than 100,000 per day on average, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. Texas and Florida account “for a very disproportionately high proportion – something like 40% of the infections,” said Anthony Fauci, MD, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, in a Bloomberg Quicktake interview.