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There Were 316% More COVID-19 Cases This Labor Day Than Last Year

Hospitalizations are up, ICUs are getting full, and children are returning to school.

New data shows just how much the pandemic is ongoing and even trending in the negative direction. COVID-19 cases have increased 316 percent since this time last year, and it’s likely to get worse as kids return to the classroom.

According to USA Today, there were almost four times as many new cases of COVID-19 leading up to the Labor Day weekend this year than during the same period in 2020. In addition, the publication cites data from Johns Hopkins University, which shows a 316 percent increase from last year.

Why is there such a massive increase? Experts are blaming two factors: the very contagious Delta variant, which has amplified the spread more than the original Alpha variant, and the continued prevalence of eligible Americans refusing the vaccine.

With the increase in cases, hospitalizations have gone way up, too. According to the U.S. Health and Human Services’ data, the number of people hospitalized with severe cases of COVID-19 is up 158 percent from a year ago, too.

“The result: Some U.S. hospitals are getting so crowded with COVID-19 patients that physicians may soon be compelled to make life-or-death decisions on who gets an ICU bed,” USA Today reports.

With the increase in cases, experts are warning of even more troubling times ahead. Hospitals, particularly in the south, are running out of resources. Children’s hospitals are also filling up and begging for help from the Biden administration as most children still do not qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine. “Some U.S. hospitals are getting so crowded with COVID-19 patients that physicians may soon be compelled to make life-or-death decisions on who gets an ICU bed,” the publication writes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) previously urged Americans who are not vaccinated to not travel for the holiday weekend. And it feels like not enough people took that warning. CBS reports that more than 3.5 million people in the U.S. traveled on September 5 and 6, more than twice as many people who traveled last year.

While the travel numbers were still less than before the pandemic, experts are worried about how that will impact an already stressed system. For months, experts have been urging people to get vaccinated, pointing to its ability to slow down hospitalizations, deaths, and the spread in the community.

Now that we’re entering the fall months which includes more kids heading back to the classrooms, experts are warning that cases will continue to rise as unvaccinated kids have more opportunities to get sick.