Aug 22, 2023 - COVID

What's happening with COVID hospitalizations in the state

Data: CDC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Infections tied to COVID-19 continue to increase, but hospitalizations are ticking down in Massachusetts.

Driving the news: The Bay State saw an estimated 2.47 hospitalizations per 100,000 people in July, a 2% decline from a month earlier, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Flashback: Hospitalizations were more common last summer. The state saw nearly 10 hospitalizations per 100,000 people in July 2022.

The big picture: COVID-19 is on the rise again nationwide, and a new variant, EG.5, is now the dominant form in the U.S., Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

  • But it's unclear if that variant is directly responsible for the rising numbers.

By the numbers: The average COVID-19 hospitalization rate nationwide rose about 17% between June and July, per the latest CDC data.

Between the lines: The uptick comes as an updated booster is due out this fall.

  • While it wasn't specifically designed with EG.5 in mind, it will likely offer at least some protection, experts told NBC News.
  • Those behind on their shots need to decide whether it makes sense to wait for the updated booster, or to beef up their protection now in the face of this uptick.

Be smart: With so little testing happening these days compared to the height of the pandemic, hospitalization rates are now one of the best proxies for estimating broader viral spread.

Reality check: In both percentage change and raw terms, hospitalizations remain far below their pandemic-era peak.

  • Hospitalizations are down 82% year-over-year nationally and 75% in Massachusetts.
  • The CDC reported 10,320 hospital admissions in the week between July 30-Aug. 5, compared to more than 150,000 in one week in January 2022.
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