As COVID vaccinations continue in the U.S., the trends for cases, hospitalizations and deaths are not good.
"We are in a very very difficult surge of cases in our country that is record-breaking every single day. It's terrible," Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.
The 7-day average for deaths is now over 2,750. Arizona and California are among the states feeling the most strain on their hospitals.
"More than 90 percent of intensive care unit beds continue to be in use this week, with COVID-19 patients in well over half of those beds. There is a similar strain on inpatient beds," Dr. Cara Christ, Director, Arizona Department of Health Services, said.
In parts of southern California, ICU’s and waiting rooms are out of space. Some hospitals are forced to ration oxygen or turn patients away.
"How do you explain that to the patient? They don't understand it. How do you explain it to the patient's family when you are looking at them and saying I'm sorry, I can't help," Tanya Crabbe, a LAFD Firefighter Paramedic, said.
10 states have hit their highest seven-day averages for new cases since the start of the pandemic. Vaccines are making it into arms...
"Couldn't come soon enough in my mind," Joe Kirshenbaum, a Pharmacist who got the vaccine, said.
...just not very quickly. While more than 21 million doses have gotten out, less than 30 percent of those have been injected. The challenge — rollout has mostly been left to state and local governments, already strained by the pandemic, and has led to a lot of confusion.
"I’m aware of the frustrations with the phone system and the rollout and the inability of the federal government to be an effective partner at this point to a certain degree," Dave Kerner, Mayor, Palm Beach County, Florida, said.
In Colorado, more than 138,000 eligible people in first priority groups have gotten shots over 24 days...some 5 thousand have gotten their second dose.
Hospitals in the 190-facility HCA Healthcare system have been able to move beyond health care workers to first responders and are working on the 75-plus crowd in their community. They credit a sophisticated tech system that helped with logistics of the rollout.
"We're fortunate that we do have a hospital system and we're trying to be organized in the way that we do this. But it's very it's not easy to get mass vaccination campaigns to work," Dr. John Hammer, Infectious Disease Specialist, Rose Medical Center told Newsy.
Friday, President-elect Joe Biden announced he’ll release all vaccine doses when he assumes office on January 20th. Right now, half are being held to ensure there’s enough for time-sensitive booster shots to get to people. He’s promised a million vaccinations a day in the first 100 days of his term.
At this point, even if one million people were vaccinated each day-it would take six months to vaccinate just half of the country.