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Covid-19 Patients Overwhelm Busy Hospitals as Delta Variant Spreads - The Wall Street Journal

The latest wave of Covid-19 hospitalizations is crashing into patients returning for care for other ailments, overtaxing some facilities and exhausting their doctors and nurses.

Surgeries and treatments for cancer, heart disease and other common conditions have rebounded this year, filling beds at many hospitals. At the same time, other respiratory viruses, such as RSV, have re-emerged along with public gatherings, adding to hospital strain.

Now some hospitals are treating more Covid-19 patients than ever before as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads, particularly where vaccination rates are lower. This new chapter of the protracted pandemic has exhausted hospital staff.

“The physical, mental and emotional toll of this pandemic is taking its toll,” said Linnette Johnson, a chief nursing officer with AdventHealth Central Florida, which last week said it would halt nonessential surgery to free staff and space for Covid-19 patients.

The resurgence risks stretching hospitals and healthcare workers so thin that patient outcomes could suffer, said medical and disaster-planning authorities. Patient surges can leave hospitals without enough doctors, nurses, space or equipment to care for patients as they normally would.