COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship, October 14, 2022


October 14, 2022

COVID-19 Hardship

October 14, 2022 

The “twindemic” is coming edition. Health care professionals are bracing for a quadruple whammy this winter that is expected to severely test hospitals across the country. Already, flu cases are on the upswing throughout the U.S., and public health experts warn this could be the worst flu season in years. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of new COVID-19 cases continue to be reported daily. And on top of all this, many hospitals, particularly children’s hospitals, emergency rooms and pediatric units are dealing with what in some states is a flood of children sick with respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. 

“If you go around the nation and ask hospitals how busy they are, every single one of them will tell you: they’re busy,” Dr. Carlos del Rio, an Executive Associate Dean at the Emery University School of Medicine and Grady Health System in Atlanta told NBC News. 

To make things worse, NBC News reports that health care workers are quitting at rates 23 percent higher than when the pandemic began. “Nurses were on the front line, and some of them burned out and quit,” said Dr. James McDeavitt, Executive Vice President and Dean of Clinical Affairs at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “Others that were in their 50s and 60s who maybe thought they’d be working another five years took an early retirement.” 

As for COVID-19: new cases continue to drop, but that is not expected to last. A recent study released by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, predicts that new cases will rise more than 10 percent in the coming weeks. In Europe, this is already happening; WHO data released in early October showed a spike in new COVID-19 cases in the European Union, despite a dramatic fall in testing. 

Members of Congress are in recess right now to campaign for re-election. But as some of the statistics below show, there is much work to be done when they return in mid-November. Student achievement is slipping, rents continue to rise, home personal care providers need more pay, and our nation’s maternity care system is an embarrassment. There will be time and opportunity for our elected representatives to address some of these issues before the year ends. Let’s make sure they do. 




The 2021 COVID-19 vaccination campaign led to 300,000 fewer deaths in the U.S. and 650,000 fewer hospitalizations among those enrolled in Medicare – primarily people 65 or older and people with disabilities. Tweet this.




If the same number of Americans who routinely get their annual flu shot get their COVID-19 booster, it would mean 75,000 fewer deaths by March 2023 and 745,000 fewer hospitalizations, according to a new study Tweet this.


1.2 million/

7.9 million 

The good news: between 2020 – 2030, it’s projected that the direct care workforce will add more than 1.2 million new jobs.
The bad news: long term care will need 7.9 million more direct care workers over this period. Tweet this.


In 2021, the median pay for home personal care aides was just $14.27 an hour. During the pandemic, the nation’s shortage of home care aides worsened, as aides left for better-paying jobs, such as jobs at fast-food restaurants and convenience stores. Tweet this.


More than one-third of all counties in the U.S. are designated as “maternity care deserts,” according to a new report released this week by March of Dimes, A maternity care desert is defined as any county without a hospital or birth center offering obstetric care and without any obstetric care providers. Seven million women across the country live in such counties; nearly 147,000 babies were born in them. One in four Native American women and one in five Black women did not receive adequate prenatal care in 2020. Tweet this.


7 million; 40% 

Seven million tenants said last month they hadn’t paid their last month’s rent. 40 percent of those not caught up had incomes of less than $25,000.



The average ACT test score for aspiring college students this year dropped to its lowest level in three decades, according to new data released this week. The national average composite score for graduating seniors in 2022 was 19.8 out of 36, the lowest average since 1991 and down from 20.3 for graduating seniors in 2021. Experts say ACT scores were dropping before the pandemic, but COVID-19 accelerated the decline.


13-15 million 

An estimated 13-15 million Americans will have received the new Omicron COVID-19 booster as of Friday, October 14, according to the White House. Still, that is but a fraction of the 216 million people eligible for the booster.



In the week ending October 4, hospital admissions with COVID-19 symptoms spiked nearly 32 percent in Italy, while intensive care admissions rose about 21 percent, compared to the week before. Over the same period, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Britain increased by 45 percent.



Nearly 40 

Nearly 40 states plus D.C. have ended pandemic-era emergency declarations that made it easier for doctors to use video visits to see patients in another state, according to the Alliance for Connected Care, which advocates for telemedicine. These cutbacks, in particular, could harm cancer patients, routine doctor check-ins, and those receiving mental health therapy. Among those at risk are low-income patients who may lack transportation or be able to take time off from their job.