In Austin, Texas, hospitals are running out of beds to accommodate new COVID-19 hospitalizations driven by the highly contagious Delta variant. According to reports, there are only six remaining intensive care unit beds in the area.
Amid the alarming rise in cases, local government officials are urging residents to stay home, wear face masks in public, and get vaccinated. However, the mask mandate ban of Governor Greg Abbott still limits state officials only to recommend these health and safety protocols and not mandate them. Austin Public Health also elevated its risk-based guidance to State 5 just recently.
Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis county’s health authority, said that the situation in the area is critical and their hospitals are “severely stressed.”
“There is little we can do to alleviate their burden with the surging cases,” Walkes added.
The reports about the scarcity of hospital beds in Austin, Texas, come after the number of cases in the United States mostly brought about by the Delta variant breached more than 100,000 daily case average Saturday. This is the first time cases have reached such numbers since February. The cases show a 112 percent increase compared to two weeks ago. Aside from Texas, Florida and Louisiana continue to see an increase in cases in the past few days.
As the cases are expected to continue increasing as many of the eligible population is still unvaccinated, top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci hopes that the Food and Drug Administration will release the full approvals of the other coronavirus vaccines by the end of the month.
Fauci and other top health officials believe that full approval will convince more people to get vaccinated. In total, only around 166 million Americans are fully vaccinated. This is just half of the population.
The United States continues to remain the worst-hit country by the COVID-19 pandemic with 35,948,170 cases and 617,321 deaths. It is followed by India which has so far reported 31,998,158 infections and 428,682 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.