Western states still struggle with COVID surge

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – Tuesday, as the CDC cited new data saying booster shots are at least 90% effective in preventing hospitalization, less than half of Americans who are eligible have actually received one. It comes as rooms, gurneys, hallways are triage areas outside hospital lobbies.

States like California face a crushing wave of COVID cases. Hospitalizations in the hardest-hit state have recently doubled.

Just a few days ago, Sharp Grossmont Hospital in San Diego was so overwhelmed they tried to divert patients elsewhere. But when every medical center was in the same situation, they had to simply open more floors. But the overworked and undermanned staff are seeing signs of hope.

Nationally, hospitalizations may soon plateau even as some regions reach record highs. In New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, cases are in a steep decline. But in Oregon, Arizona, and California, the numbers are off the chart.

It’s hard to see any end to the misery for nurses losing patients.

William Adams almost became one of those statistics. He said, “The paramedics kept me breathing till I got here.” After choosing not to get vaccinated, he sits in isolation with regret. “It brings you right to the brink  where you tell yourself you don’t want to live,” he said.

Adams knows he’s lucky to be alive. A patient just a few doors down was struggling to breathe and needed help from a rapid response team.

For some, living with COVID means facing death, day and night.

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