Dr. David Jacobs: Omicron has filled up my hospital, but the panic from the Delta wave is gone

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

Faced with a constant barrage of hyperbolic headlines, social media posts, and punditry, the public has become inured to bad news, accustomed to low levels of panic, and justifiably suspicious of any predictions, good or bad. The best way to untangle this web of spin and sensationalism is take a peek inside the hospitals to see what’s really happening. Let me be your guide.

Dr. David Jacobs: Omicron has filled up my hospital, but the panic from the Delta wave is gone
© Provided by National Post FILE PHOTO: A respiratory therapist and six nurses prone a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient inside the intensive care unit of Humber River Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada April 19, 2021.

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

As a radiologist at Humber River Hospital, a large urban general hospital in Toronto, I’ve had a bird’s eye view of the entire pandemic seeing the imaging of patients from when they walk through our doors in emergency to when they are unfortunate enough to require critical care. Every picture tells a story, and the story of Omicron has been unlike any of the waves that have come before.

At the beginning of every wave, the emergency department has always taken the brunt of the assault. During the Delta wave, multiple patients would be rushed in requiring immediate intubation. Right from the start of the Omicron wave, things were decidedly different. The volume of patients was enormous, but the panic of Delta was absent. Very few of the large number of patients coming to emergency have been seriously ill. There were those seeking a PCR test because of contact with a case, others with mild upper respiratory tract symptoms, and some with flu-like symptoms. They were of all ages, all vaccinated, and their chest X-rays were all normal. Every dozen or so cases however, there was a jaw droppingly horrible pneumonia in an unvaccinated patient, and it soon became clear that a pattern was emerging.

Global Tech News Daily

Most of the patients desperately ill with hypoxia, a lack of oxygen in the blood, were unvaccinated, 60 years and older, obese, diabetic, and hypertensive. Sadly, joining their ranks were the elderly who had two doses of the vaccine almost a year ago, and had not received boosters. The most tragic were the fully vaccinated and boosted immunosuppressed patients. Whether it was due to chemotherapy, autoimmune disease, or renal transplant, Omicron has been cruel. The unvaccinated, under vaccinated, and immunosuppressed are the patients who would be admitted to the wards and then slowly fill the ICU.

Unlike Delta, there are few direct admissions to the ICU, Omicron patients tend to go first to the wards. The largest group of symptomatic COVID patients on the wards are fully vaccinated, of all ages with mild pneumonias. They have brief stays, admitted only until their oxygen saturation improves. Close behind in terms of numbers are unvaccinated patients of all ages. The unvaccinated patients are grossly overrepresented when compared to their small percentage of the general population is considered. They tend to struggle on the wards and stay much longer in hospital than their vaccinated peers. While most inpatients recover, there are the unlucky few whose disease progresses.

  • Rupa Subramanya: Ontario unsurprisingly too timid to move to the pandemic endgame
  • Randall Denley: State of Ontario’s health care makes it hard to feel optimistic about the future
Global Tech News Daily

Many of the frail elderly on the wards choose not to seek care in the ICU and unfortunately succumb to the virus. Among those who do agree to receive care in the ICU, vaccinated patients rarely require intubation and tend to rally with high flow oxygen. The unvaccinated, under vaccinated, and immunosuppressed requiring critical care services regrettably have a much more difficult path. They more often require intubation, and once intubated, they have a vanishingly small chance of survival.

The message is painfully clear. Omicron is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Please get vaccinated.

Despite the growing numbers of hospitalized patients, and bleak headlines, our current situation is surprisingly good. Wastewater viral signal (no you don’t want to know how that is obtained) has been dropping as has been the positivity rate of PCR tests indicating Omicron has likely peeked. The emergency department has quieted down marking the beginning of a drop in hospitalizations. The wards remain under mild stress due to sheer numbers and staffing shortages due to nurses falling sick from COVID. They are however bolstered by operating room nurses who were redeployed after the mandated cancelation of non-urgent surgeries. Staffing is still stretched thin, but the wards will hold.

The ICUs are another story. They remain in a stubborn logjam, hit by staffing shortages due to illness, but less able to replenish their ranks due to the highly specialized nature of critical care nursing. Anesthetists, and surgeons have stepped in at some hospitals to fill in the gaps, but this is not a long-term solution. There is no doubt that the ICUs will be able to weather this wave now that it seems to have peeked. While estimates range from two to four weeks for our critical care numbers to recede to acceptable levels, what is clear is that we can’t do this again.

Omicron has been a flash flood, and its receding water reveal great weaknesses in our health-care system. We have infrastructure, human resource, and funding deficits that have spanned decades of governments and will not be solved quickly or without great cost.

But perhaps the greatest challenge facing us is not one of infrastructure, but one of perception. As Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam has said, Omicron marks the shift from pandemic to endemic. We must now begin the difficult task of recalibrating risk and learning to live with a virus that is not going to go away. In the balance are countless delayed diagnoses, cancelled surgeries, economic hardships, and lost educational opportunities. It’s a hard truth, but it’s the truth nonetheless. The time to prepare for tomorrow is today.

Dr. David Jacobs is a radiologist at Humber River Hospital in Toronto and president of the Ontario Association of Radiologists. 

News Related

OTHER NEWS

New York Rangers get another comeback win to force Game 7 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

PITTSBURGH — How many times can the New York Rangers dig themselves into a hole and climb back out? At least one more, as of Friday night. The Blueshirts came ... Read more »

Wilson, balanced Aces cruise to 96-73 victory over Dream

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (AP) — A’ja Wilson scored 15 points, Kelsey Plum had 14 points and 11 assists and the Las Vegas Aces rolled to a 96-73 victory over the ... Read more »

EXPLAINER: Why frustration lingers in Okinawa 50 years later

The Associated PressFILE – U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Mike Anglen of Turner, Ore., center, stands atop a cliff as Sgt. Bryan Wallace of Pikin, Ill., waits for his turn before ... Read more »

Astros beat Nationals 6-1 for 11th straight victory

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jose Altuve homered on the first pitch of the game, Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel also went deep and the Houston Astros extended their winning streak to ... Read more »

Kreider scores late, Rangers edge Pens 5-3 to force Game 7

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chris Kreider’s long slap shot bounced over Louis Domingue and into the net with 1:28 left and the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 on ... Read more »

Astros push winning streak to 11, roll past Nationals 6-1

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jose Altuve homered on the first pitch of the game, and Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel also went deep to help the Houston Astros extend their winning ... Read more »

Moustakas, Drury power Reds to 8-2 victory over Pirates

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mike Moustakas homered twice and Brandon Drury drove in four runs to break out of a slump and lead the resurgent Cincinnati Reds to an 8-2 victory ... Read more »

Peterson's bases-loaded walk lifts Brewers over Marlins 2-1

MIAMI (AP) — Jace Peterson walked against Anthony Bender with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Miami Marlins 2-1 Friday night. After starters ... Read more »

Padres: No cancer found during manager Bob Melvin's prostate surgery

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres say no cancer was found when manager Bob Melvin had prostate surgery on Wednesday. Melvin, 60, was recovering at home Friday after ... Read more »

Ogunbowale, Gray help Wings rally past Mystics, 94-86

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arike Ogunbowale scored 27 points, Allisha Gray had 21 and the Dallas Wings overcame a 15-point second-quarter deficit to beat the Washington Mystics 94-86 on Friday night. ... Read more »

Resigning North Dakota senator led lawmakers in travel costs

The Associated PressFILE – North Dakota Sen. Ray Holmberg listens during a joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee meeting at the Capitol in Bismarck, N.D., on Jan. 7, 2009. Holmberg, ... Read more »

Residents in picturesque California county hit with gas prices topping $7 a gallon

A California county known for its spectacular mountains and proximity to Yosemite National Park has been paying the nation’s highest gas prices. Read more »

Boudreau to return as coach of Canucks next season

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Bruce Boudreau will return as coach of the Vancouver Canucks next season after helping to turn the struggling NHL club around as a midyear replacement. ... Read more »

New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern tests positive for COVID

On Location: May 13, 2022 Catch up on the developing stories making headlines.The Associated Press WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has tested positive for COVID-19 ... Read more »

Today in History for May 14th

Highlights of this day in history: Colonists go ashore in Virginia to set up Jamestown; Lewis and Clark begin to explore Louisiana Territory; Israel founded; Skylab launched; Movie producer George ... Read more »

Twitter CEO expects Elon Musk acquisition to close, addresses spending cuts

Musk is awaiting details supporting calculations that spam, fake accounts represent less than 5% of Twitter's users Read more »

Padres: No cancer found during Bob Melvin's prostate surgery

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres say no cancer was found when manager Bob Melvin had prostate surgery on Wednesday. Melvin, 60, was recovering at home Friday after ... Read more »

Renovated NYC museum shows indigenous perspectives

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City recently finished a major renovation of its exhibition on the native peoples of the northwest coast of North America. Curators ... Read more »

Police release 911 calls in Gilgo Beach case

A woman who disappeared in a beach community on New York’s Long Island more than a decade ago, sparking an investigation into a possible serial killer, said “there’s somebody after ... Read more »

Academy Awards set 2023 Oscars for March 12

The Associated PressFILE – Oscar statue on the red carpet at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Next year’s Academy Awards will ... Read more »

Actor Fred Ward, of 'Tremors,' 'The Right Stuff' fame, dies

The Associated PressFILE – Fred Ward, a cast member in “30 Minutes or Less,” poses at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles on Aug. 8, 2011. Ward, a ... Read more »

Judge refuses to drop elections suit against Trump, media

NEW YORK — A Colorado judge on Friday denied motions to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by an election systems worker against former President Donald Trump’s campaign, two of its ... Read more »

Q&A: Becky G unveils every side of herself in latest album

The Associated PressFILE – Becky G appears at the Oscars in Los Angeles on March 27, 2022. Beck G’s latest album is “Esquemas.” (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File) NEW YORK ... Read more »

North Korea reports 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19 outbreak

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea reports 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19 outbreak. Read more »

North Korea confirms 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea says 21 people died and 174,440 people were newly found with fever symptoms on Friday alone as the country scrambles to slow the spread ... Read more »

White Sox place Giolito on COVID list, activate Vaughn

The Chicago White Sox placed ace Lucas Giolito on the COVID-19 injured list and activated outfielder Andrew Vaughn following a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Friday. Giolito began experiencing ... Read more »

Traded back and forth, Ford learns to live out of suitcase

NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Ford has learned to travel light — and quickly. Since the start of the season, the 29-year-old first baseman has played for Tacoma, San Francisco ... Read more »

Falcon 9 rocket launches Starlink satellites

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 53 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from California on Friday. (May 13) Read more »

Celtics' Robert Williams remains out for Game 6 vs. Bucks

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Boston forward/center Robert Williams missed his third straight game with an injured left knee as the Celtics tried to keep their season alive Friday night in Game ... Read more »

Padres sign Robinson Canó, plan to use him off the bench

ATLANTA (AP) — The San Diego Padres have signed veteran second baseman Robinson Canó to a major league contract and plan to use him as a left-handed bat off the ... Read more »

WNBA star's Russia detention extended by 1 month

The lawyer for WNBA star Brittney Griner says her pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended by one month. Alexander Boykov told The Associated Press the relatively short extension indicated ... Read more »

Louisiana justices toss COVID-related charges against pastor

Hundreds of thousands of Americans fighting long-haul symptoms from COVID-19 Dr. David Putrino from Mount Sinai Health System and COVID long-hauler Joel Fram discuss the long-term effects of the disease.The ... Read more »

Sandy Hook lawsuits against Alex Jones on track to resume

The Associated PressFILE – This Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, photo shows radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones at Capitol Hill in Washington. The Sandy Hook families’ lawsuits against ... Read more »

Rockies' Bryant closer to return after cortisone shot

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Rockies outfielder Kris Bryant took swings in the cage Friday for the first time since he was sidelined with a sore back nearly three weeks ago ... Read more »

Mariners demote Jarred Kelenic to minors after poor start

NEW YORK (AP) — Rather than make his Citi Field debut against the team that traded him, Jarred Kelenic was demoted to Triple-A Tacoma by the Seattle Mariners on Friday ... Read more »

Biden: ASEAN partnership 'critical' in this moment

Looking to strengthen ties, President Joe Biden welcomes leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to Washington for the first time. “We’re launching a new era in U.S.-ASEAN relations,” ... Read more »

Phil Mickelson will not defend his title at next week's PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson caught lightning in a bottle last year at Kiawah Island, winning a major championship at 50 years of age. The fairways flooded, and the golf world stood and ... Read more »

Tennessee Titans' Malik Willis on Ryan Tannehill's mentorship comments: 'Everything is cool'

The Tennessee Titans didn’t take issue with Ryan Tannehill’s comments about mentoring third-round rookie Malik Willis. Willis and coach Mike Vrabel were asked about Tannehill’s scrutinized remarks following the first ... Read more »

Lawyers plan suit against Lufthansa over Jewish passengers

Lawyers for 26 passengers said Friday they told Lufthansa that they will sue the German airline for refusing to let members of a large group of Orthodox Jewish passengers board ... Read more »

Wild face offseason after yet another early ouster

While the Minnesota Wild were stacking up franchise records and securing the extra home game for the first round, general manager Bill Guerin carefully acknowledged a “great year” for the ... Read more »