New COVID hospitalizations are surging across the United States, even in the most vaccinated states, a day after the president promised that there would be no lockdowns or expanded vaccine mandates planned for the winter break to contain infections.
The whole country is seeing an increase in hospitalizations, rising from a daily admissions average of 46,714 on November 12 to 56,994 on December 2, according to New York Times data. Some 60 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
Vermont, the country’s most vaccinated state, which is 73 percent fully vaccinated, has seen its average daily hospitalizations climb by 32 percent over the last two weeks. That figure is now 75 new hospital admissions a day, the data indicates.
Rhode Island, which is also 73 percent vaccinated, has seen average daily hospital admissions increase by 55 percent over the last 14 days. The number now stands at 152.
Maine, which is 73 percent vaccinated, has seen a 23 percent rise in average daily hospitalizations over the last 14 days. On average, the state sees 350 new COVID hospitalizations a day.
Connecticut has seen its COVID hospitalizations rise by 48 percent from two weeks ago to 405 a day on average. The eastern state is 72 percent fully vaccinated.
Massachusetts, which is 71 percent vaccinated, has seen average daily hospitalizations rise by 44 percent, to 807.
President Joe Biden said on Thursday that his winter plan to fight the virus did not include lockdowns and it wouldn’t expand current vaccine mandates, but it will include an increased focus on booster shots and more frequent testing.
The Biden administration is also planning to keep schools open by launching hundreds of family vaccination clinics at community health centers and other locations around the country to make it easier for parents to vaccinate their kids.
“We want our children in school; we are going to take new steps to make sure it stays that way,” Biden told reporters. “But, again, the best step is to vaccinate your children.”
The new COVID-19 variant Omicron, which was first discovered in the U.S. on Wednesday, has more than 50 mutations and is feared to be able to evade immunity. Omicron may pose a threat to Biden’s approval ratings—which have been decreasing as the pandemic has worn on.
The president said on Thursday that his government was developing contingency plans to develop new vaccines and boosts to fight Omicron if necessary.
“My team is already working with officials at Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to develop contingency plans for other vaccines or boosters,” he added. “And I’ll also direct the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] and the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] to use the fastest process available—without cutting corners, for safety—to get such vaccines reviewed and approved if needed.”
“We are in a better position than we were a year ago to fight Covid-19,” Biden said.