Covid wards in the D.C. area are almost empty, and some doctors are taking time off for the first time since March 2020. They credit the vaccines. — Rachel Chason, The Washington Post
Covid wards in the D.C. area are almost empty, and some doctors are taking time off for the first time since March 2020. They credit the vaccines. — Rachel Chason, The Washington Post
Covid wards in the D.C. area are almost empty. Doctors credit the coronavirus vaccine.
Just six months ago, the covid-19 unit at Sibley Memorial Hospital was full and doctors at the Northwest D.C. hospital were grappling with a winter surge in pandemic patients.

Today, the 25-bed ward is empty, said Michael Lee, the hospitalist medical director. There have been virtually no covid-19 patients for four weeks. It’s a trend that doctors say they are seeing across the D.C. region as vaccinations have led to increased immunity, sending hospitalizations and deaths plunging.

“We are all in a better place,” Lee said. “For obvious reasons.”

In D.C. as of Friday, no coronavirus-related deaths had been reported since June 19 and just 10 intensive care unit beds were occupied by covid-19 patients, according to The Washington Post’s tracker.

... The people who are still sick enough to be hospitalized are those who have not yet gotten vaccinated, according to physicians at hospitals in all three jurisdictions. Sometimes, though very rarely, these hospitals are seeing patients who are fully vaccinated test positive for coronavirus, the doctors said. But those vaccinated individuals are not sick enough that they need inpatient care.

Doctors said in interviews that dramatically lower patient censuses mean they are able to take time off — in some cases for the first time since March 2020 — and begin to process the chaos of those 16 months.

They said they are also looking toward the future, hopeful that the coronavirus pandemic will bring sustained attention to long-standing disparities in access to medical care and concerned that this will not be last global health crisis they confront.

“We are more aware of our own mortality,” Lee said, recalling the intense fear of the unknown that so many felt during the early days of the pandemic. “We know things are never going to be the same.”
Read the full article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-hospitals-empty-covid/2021/07/02/cce9d414-d9bc-11eb-bb9e-70fda8c37057_story.html