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A healthcare professional suits up to enter a COVID-19 patient's room in the ICU at Van Wert County Hospital in Ohio. Photo: Megan Jelinger/AFP

Utah doctors are doing what they say is the equivalent of rationing care. Intensive care beds in Minnesota are nearly full. And the country overall continues to break hospitalization records — all as millions of Americans travel to spend Thanksgiving with friends and family.

Why it matters: America's health care workers are exhausted, and the sickest coronavirus patients aren't receiving the kind of care that could make the difference between living and dying.

The big picture: Some overwhelmed hospitals are sending patients away to receive care elsewhere, while others are reducing the quality of care that their patients receive — a byproduct of being short-staffed.

  • For example, 75% of counties in Kansas and Missouri don't have any ICU beds, so these patients are sent to city hospitals — some of which are starting to crack under the increased caseload, NPR reports.
  • "It's not just the rural health care infrastructure that becomes overwhelmed when there aren't enough hospital beds, it's also the surrounding neighborhoods, the suburbs, the urban hospital infrastructure starts to become overwhelmed as well," Shannon Monnat, a rural health researcher at Syracuse University, told NPR.

What they're saying: "There are things going on right now that wouldn't normally happen," Andy Pavia, chief of pediatric infectious disease at the University of Utah, told the Salt Lake Tribune.

  • "Patients from Idaho are not being accepted. People are staying in small community hospitals rather than coming to referral hospitals, where the greater [technical] sophistication is. It's just not the point where people are stacked up in the hallways with no bed."

The bottom line: One of the nation's most finite resources in our fight against COVID is health care workers. In too many places, they're reaching capacity.

Go deeper: U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking records

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 23, 2021 - Health

Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's plan to accelerate the reopening of K-8 schools faces major challenges from a still out-of-control pandemic and more contagious coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The longer American kids miss in-person schooling, the further they fall behind. But the uncertain state of the science on the role young children play in the pandemic continues to complicate efforts to reopen schools.

Latest James Bond movie release delayed for third time

An advertisement poster featuring Daniel Craig in the new James Bond movie "No Time to Die" in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images

The release of the latest James Bond film, "No Time to Die," has been postponed for the third time as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate Hollywood.

The state of play: The film's release, initially scheduled for April 2020, was first postponed to November 2020, and then to April 2021. MGM said this week that movie's global debut will now be delayed until Oct. 8.

Jan 23, 2021 - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.