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Here’s why it’s a bad time to need a hospital bed even if you don’t have COVID-19

Beds for patients awaiting examination that are not suspected of being Covid-19 positive stand inside a converted chapel area at Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Community Hospital in the Willowbrook neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.
Beds for patients awaiting examination that are not suspected of being Covid-19 positive stand inside a converted chapel area at Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Community Hospital in the Willowbrook neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

Omicron is surging. That meanshospitals are filling up… again. Medical centers were already short-staffed. Now, things have progressed to the point that governors in 10 states have called in the National Guard to help.   

That also means it’s a pretty bad time to need an ICU bed if you don’t have COVID-19. Dozens of hospitals across the country started the year by delaying routine surgeries… again.  

That includes a much-needed heart surgery for Maggie Frye’s five-month-old son. He has a congenital heart condition, but his surgeries kept getting delayed. Then omicron hit.

He is just one ofmillions of people worldwide who have had surgeries delayed or canceled since the pandemic started. How can hospitals bounce back from omicron? What do all these delays mean for hospitals and patients? 

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Amanda Williams