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Unvaccinated Americans are ‘irresponsibly filling up our ERs and ICUs’: doctor

·Anchor
·2 min read
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As the U.S. reaches an average of 100,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations for the first time since January, doctors are urging more Americans to get vaccinated, saying it is "key" to getting control of the virus.

“You’ve got to promote vaccination. And people keep saying to me, ‘Well, the people who are vaccinated, what do they have to worry about?” NYU Langone Health’s Dr. Arthur Caplan told Yahoo Finance Live. “But it’s the unvaccinated who irresponsibly are filling up our ERs, are filling up the ICUs… Our hospital systems are just not able to handle the volume of people coming in sick.”

Although more Americans have been getting vaccinated in recent weeks, it is still below the level health professionals hoped to reach by the end of summer. About 205 million people, or 61% of the total U.S. population, have received at least one dose, while 52% are fully vaccinated.

A surge in patients has pushed some hospital systems to their limits in recent weeks, with several running out of ICU beds. Hospitalizations nationwide have jumped more than 100% in the past 14 days, and the seven-day average has soared nearly 600% in the past two months.

An area of particular concern is the South, where vaccine hesitancy is high. Low vaccination rates in the region have helped fuel the rapid spread of the Delta variant, causing a surge in cases and pushing hospitals to capacity. Several hospital systems throughout the South have been forced to move patients to makeshift ICU areas or construct emergency field hospitals as they struggle to accommodate a large number of patients.

Vaccination rates in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, although rising, remain among the lowest in the nation, with less than half of each state’s residents receiving at least one dose.

“Vaccination is the key, not so much that you won't catch COVID-19 but that it won't kill you and it won't put you in the hospital,” added Caplan. “The strategy of not asking for vaccine mandates in the South is just destroying the ability of [strained] hospitals to respond.”

Seana Smith anchors Yahoo Finance Live’s 3-5 p.m. ET program. Follow her on Twitter @SeanaNSmith

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