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America bucks the world omicron trend


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The puzzle of America's record Covid hospital rate

By Bernd Debusmann Jr & Holly Honderich
BBC News, Washington

20 hours ago


Even as the Omicron variant sweeps around the world, public health officials have noted that, in most cases, the number of Covid patients in hospitals remains significantly lower than during previous pandemic surges.

That's not the case in the US, however, where the number of patients with the coronavirus currently in hospital has reached record numbers.

Details discussed in the full article here.


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They get halfway into the article, and all the way through the section on the US, before mentioning vaccination rates. And it ignores booster rates entirely.

"Just over 63% of the US population is fully vaccinated, much lower than in the UK (71%) as well as Italy and France (both 75%). In Canada, almost 79% of the population is fully protected."

The US lags these other countries in booster rates, too.


We already know that vaccination, and boosting, lowers the chance of hospitalization. But yeah, this is is puzzle. </s>



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On top of that, testing has been a bit of a problem in the US. While tests are always underestimating the true spread of SARS-CoV-2, the UK has a better and somewhat more centralized system in place. Especially during the ongoing Omicron surge, many areas in the US are likely disproportionately underreporting cases. I.e. in the US we are likely looking at a far more severe spread. The analysis in the article only looks at hospitalization per population and not relative to cases, and therefore misses on important context.

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Just now, Sensei said:

How many % of these people are obese?

Depends a bit on study and reporting as well as the precise distinction between obesity and overweight. But looking at obesity brackets of BMI >30, studies often find perhaps a 5-8% difference between these countries. It should also be noted that not only obese folks are at risk, there is a steady increase of risk with increasing BMI (though it jumps a bit when we get to BMI >35). Nonetheless, the obesity/overweight levels in UK (~65%) are close enough to the US that they alone would explain observed differences.

49 minutes ago, beecee said:

Australia is now around 78% fully vaxxed, while my state of NSW is 93% fully vaxxed.

It is interesting to note that in many countries vaccination rates jump a bit with major events (such as vaccination mandates or new variants), indicating that some holdouts are not fundamentally opposed to vaccination but that they are doing a kind of personal cost/benefit calculation. Some surveys have shown that the ability to go to clubs or similar venues contributed quite a bit to vaccination willingness.

Based on anecdotes from students quite a few (even after such a long time in the pandemic) they still assumed that it was not important for them and only decided to get vaccinated because they needed it e.g. for travel or getting on campus. That, somewhat frighteningly, highlights how badly informed the presumed next generation of intellectual elites is.

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