Hospitals in the US are the fullest they’ve been throughout the pandemic

Hospitals are more full than they’ve been throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a CNN analysis of data from the US Department of Health and Human Services. But as respiratory virus season surges across the US, it’s much more than Covid that’s filling beds this year.

More than 80% of hospital beds are in use nationwide, jumping 8 percentage points in the past two weeks.

Hospitals have been required to report capacity information since mid-2020 as part of a federal effort to track the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hospitals have been more than 70% full for the vast majority of that time. But they’ve been 80% full at only one other point: in January, during the height of the Omicron surge in the US. Back in January, about a quarter of hospital beds were in use for Covid-19 patients. But now, only about 6% of beds are in use for Covid-19 patients, according to the HHS data.

The broader respiratory virus season is in full swing across the US. All but six states are experiencing “high” or “very high” respiratory virus as seasonal flu activity remains “high and continues to increase,” according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of people admitted to the hospital for flu during the week of Thanksgiving was nearly double the number of admissions during the week before. And the latest surveillance data probably does not reflect the full effects of holiday gatherings, as it captures only through November 26, two days past Thanksgiving.

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