Emergency doctor warns urgently! This is the real danger of Omikron!

This is the real danger of Omicron, warns an emergency physician! The COVID variant could cause a major problem, according to a frontline doctor.

The Omicron variant has again pushed COVID to troubling heights. According to the health department, new infections have increased by more than 85 percent in the last week due to the variant. Fortunately, many of these infections have been mild, especially among vaccinated and refreshed individuals. During a Jan. 5 press conference, top White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, acknowledged that research shows Omicron is less severe. But both Fauci and frontline physicians caution against being swayed by this news, as hospitals across the country are still overcrowded with COVID patients. One doctor is now issuing an urgent warning!

Emergency doctor speaks plainly

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Dr. Craig Spencer, an emergency room physician practicing in New York City and chief of the division of global health in emergency medicine at Columbia Medicine, wrote an op-ed for The New York Times on Jan. 10 describing the major problems with the spread of the Omicron variant. Despite vaccinations and the fact that the new variant reportedly causes milder disease, the continued rise poses a threat to hospitals, Spencer said.

“A highly contagious variant like Omicron, even if it causes a milder disease, can cause the collapse of our health care system,” he warned.

But it’s not all bad news!

It’s not all bad news, especially compared to the start of the pandemic. By March 2020, intensive care units were regularly overcrowded, and health care workers were overwhelmed with patients needing supplemental oxygen and ventilators. According to Spencer, he has yet to have to put a patient on a ventilator during the recent Omicron surge, and most patients did not require supplemental oxygen. In addition, health care workers also have more resources available to treat the virus, such as drugs like steroids and oral antivirals.

Still, “these resources are still not enough to slow the rapid influx of Omicron patients, and the situation is grim for health care workers and hospitals,” Spencer explained. “And while almost all of my patients have milder illnesses compared to March 2020, they still take up just as much space in a hospital bed.”

More infected staff!

According to the emergency department physician, the high number of COVID-positive patients also creates another source of exposure for health care workers, “who are dropping out in unprecedented numbers,” he said.

Many hospitals currently have more employees infected at any one time than during the entire pandemic. According to ABC News, there have been at least 819,000 COVID cases among healthcare workers through January 2022. But during this wave alone, some hospitals in the U.S. have already lost 15 percent or more of their staff, Spencer said. And while an employee can cover the shifts of an infected employee, there are a limited number of employees.

“The harsh reality is this: Fewer providers means fewer available beds because a team can only treat a certain number of patients at a time. It also means treatment will be slower and people will spend more time in the ER. And the longer those patients stay in the ER, the longer others stay in the waiting room,” Spencer warned. “The domino effect will impact all levels of health care, from understaffed nursing homes to ambulances that take longer to respond to emergency calls.

Overburdened Hospitals

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The consequences could be fatal, according to Dr. Bob Wachter, chairman of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) medical school. “The new Omicron math: slightly milder x massively more infections = overburdened hospitals and many deaths,” Wachter tweeted Jan. 6.

So how can this be prevented? According to both Spencer and Fauci, prevention measures that have been recommended since the pandemic began are even more important now. While the risk of contracting COVID is lower because Omicron causes milder illness, infections can still be severe. You may need to be hospitalized – or you could infect someone who does, too. And Spencer cautioned against relying too much on us and our hospital beds right now.

“Collective action in the coming weeks – distributing and using high-quality masks, staying home if you don’t feel well, and getting vaccinated or a booster if you’re eligible – could help keep hospitals and health care workers from falling into crisis,” he concluded.

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