Doctors worry about post-Labor Day COVID surge

(CNN) With more Americans traveling for Labor Day, there are growing concerns over the potential for yet another COVID-19 surge.

With hospitals in U.S. hotspots running out of beds, officials worry difficult decisions lie ahead over just who can receive intensive care.

Physicians and officials alike are pleading with Americans to get vaccinated

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said, “We’ve lost 24 additional people since Friday. I’ll ask for your prayers again, but I’ll ask more than anything for you to get yourself vaccinated to stop this.”

As COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly, particularly in places with low rates of vaccination, some hospitals are close to full capacity and facing a shortage of ICU beds

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “You’re gonna be in a situation where you’re gonna have to make some very tough choices.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 80% of ICU beds are in use across the country, almost a third of which are occupied by COVID-19 patients.

The situation is already dire in states like Texas, Florida, and Georgia, where case numbers continue to climb.

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Medical Director of Emergency Services Dr. James Black said, “The emergency department is full and the hospital is full. We’re unable to place many patients.”

And it’s not just adults who are being impacted. A recent study from the CDC showed that more children went to hospitals and emergency rooms in states with lower vaccination rates.

Doctor Anthony Fauci says masking and vaccinating all those who are eligible are the keys to getting COVID-19 under control. “Surround the children,” he said. “Be it friends, family, school teachers, personnel in the school. Surround the children with vaccinated people.”

It’s a push to protect the vulnerable as summer comes to a close.

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