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Yucatán’s COVID hospitalizations begin to creep up

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Over 3,000 new coronavirus infections were reported this week in Yucatán. On Sunday alone, 652 new cases were detected, and that’s likely an undercount due to the state’s limited testing resources.

The total has been breaking records daily.

But while the new coronavirus variant has had infections breaking records daily in Yucatán, there’s another data point that’s of increasing concern. Coronavirus admissions in Yucatán’s public hospitals are rising.

The US government’s top medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has joined a growing body of experts who say hospitalization figures form a better guide to the severity of the Omicron coronavirus variant than simply counting new cases.

In Yucatán, hospital patients battling COVID have risen from 68 to 98 in the last week. That’s small compared to the over 4,600 patients with mild symptoms and allowed to stay at home.

But that 44% seven-day jump is worth keeping an eye on.

When the current wave began around Christmas, COVID-related hospitalizations were in the low 20s. That data point was overshadowed by skyrocketing daily cases.

As dramatic as daily cases are, is it time to focus less on that number?

“The answer is, overall, yes,” Fauci said on “This Week,” a Sunday-morning news program based in Washington.

“This is particularly relevant if you’re having an infection that is much, much more asymptomatic and minimally symptomatic, particularly in people who are vaccinated and boosted,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States.

“The real bottom line that you want to be concerned about is, are we getting protected by the vaccines from severe disease leading to hospitalization?” he told “This Week” on Jan. 2.

Hospitalizations in Yucatán topped 600 in the initial 2020 wave when auxiliary facilities were built to care for overflow patients.

On Sunday, 652 cases were reported and three patients died, state health officials said. Since the pandemic began, 6,515 fatalities out of 83,245 infections have been reported.

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