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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Between 8,000 and 12,000 shipping containers carrying medical supplies to various parts of the U.S. are on a delay of up to 37 days due to ongoing transportation congestion, according to new data from the Health Industry Distributors' Association.

Why it matters: Per their projections, medical supplies arriving at a U.S. port on Christmas Day won't be delivered to hospitals and other care settings until February 2022. That could delay critical supplies at a time when health care is already expected to most need them due to surges from Delta and Omicron.

Details: The supply chain problems can compound, starting with medical supplies languishing in U.S. ports for an average of 17 days, officials said.

  • HIDA research also shows containers with medical supplies are delayed an average of 11 days by rail, and nine days by truck.
  • The top five ports with congestion issues are Los Angeles/Long Beach; Savannah, Georgia; New York/New Jersey; Charleston, South Carolina and Seattle.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on Dec. 20.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull.
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden to announce plan to distribute 400 million masks for free — Government website for free COVID tests launches early.
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker

Starbucks drops worker vaccine mandate after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks announced in a memo to employees Tuesday that it has dropped plans to implement a vaccine mandate for all U.S. workers, AP reported on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

1 hour ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.