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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

This sure feels like a crisis in the making: Health care workers are overworked, over-stressed and burned out — all as cases and hospitalizations keep climbing and climbing.

What they're saying: "The wave hasn't even crashed down on us yet. It keeps rising and rising, and we're all running on fear. The health-care system in Iowa is going to collapse, no question," Eli Perencevich, an infectious disease doctor at the University of Iowa, told The Atlantic.

"People in leadership are starting to say things in meetings like, 'I have a sense of impending doom,'" Gregory Schmidt, associate chief medical officer at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, told ProPublica's Caroline Chen.

In New York City, CityMD clinics will now close 90 minutes earlier than they have been.

  • "Our site staff and doctors have been seeing patients well beyond normal closing time for months now and we've reached the point where they are sacrificing their own safety and health," CityMD said in a statement.

"My mom, a nursing home administrator, just broke down crying. She went from zero to 45 cases in two weeks, the COVID unit's overflowing. She's had to inform families and take their anger & pain. She's had to be a nurse, a CNA and a housekeeper because all but 9 of her staff have it," HuffPost reporter Sanjana Karanth tweeted yesterday.

The bottom line: Shortages of medical staff will have real consequences for the people who catch this virus, and the only way out of this bind is for fewer people to catch the virus.

Go deeper

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.