CDC director warns of ‘dire straits’ in delta-hit areas of U.S.

Rochelle Walensky on May 19, 2021. Photographer: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) --Parts of the U.S. health system “are in dire straits,” as the spread of the Covid-19 delta variant forces some states to prepare for rationed medical care, Rochelle Walensky, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said.

By Ian Fisher
Sep 26, 2021, 6:53 PM – Updated on Sep 26, 2021, 6:53 PM
Word Count: 336

“That means that we are talking about who is going to get a ventilator, who is going to get an ICU bed,” Walensky said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “Those are not easy discussions to have, and that is not a place we want our health care system to ever be.”

Idaho, among the U.S.’s least-vaccinated states, and Alaska have said that hospitals can begin to ration medical care if needed. A major hospital in Montana also implemented so-called “crisis of care standards” to prioritize who is treated. Health officials warned the measure could be widened across the state.

The delta surge has moved in intensity around the U.S., now hitting the northwest. Nationwide, the number of people dying in hospitals appears to have peaked, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Service data.

Walensky defended her decision last week to overrule a panel of CDC advisers and broaden eligibility for third shots of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine.

The panel approved boosters for those ages 65 and older, those in long-term health-care facilities and those ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions. The CDC head went further, ruling that people at high risk of exposure at work or elsewhere may also receive a third dose.

She called her decision “a scientific close call.”

“I felt it was appropriate for those people to also be eligible for boosters,” she said.

Walensky said she hoped it would be safe for children to go trick-or-treating this Halloween.

“If you’re able to be outdoors, absolutely,” she said. “Limit crowds. I wouldn’t necessarily go to a crowded Halloween party, but I think that we should be able to let our kids go trick or treating in small groups.”

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.8% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.2% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.2% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.2%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options