What We’re Reading: Skipping Medical Care Over Cost; 1-Year Vaccine Anniversary; Overwhelmed MN Hospitals

More Americans reported skipping medical care over cost concerns; today marks the 1-year anniversary of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout; hospitals in Minnesota are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

Costs Dissuade Americans From Seeking Health Care

A Gallup and West Health study found that over the past 3 months, nearly one-third of Americans said they’ve forgone medical care due to cost concerns, CBS News reports. The results come as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread and many individuals had postponed seeking care during the beginning of the pandemic. In addition, prices have increased in the past year, and drug prices are outpacing inflation. The survey also found that almost 13 million Americans know someone who died because they could not afford medical care.

One Year Since First Vaccines

One year after the first COVID-19 vaccines were shipped across the country, the nation’s death toll stands at around 800,000 compared with just 300,000 this time last December, according to the Associated Press. Although the vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective, NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, said scientists and officials may have underestimated the power of misinformation when it comes to promoting vaccinations. Currently, unvaccinated individuals have a 14 times higher risk of dying of COVID-19 compared with the vaccinated.

COVID-19 Surge in MN Hospitals

Minnesota hospitals have warned they are overwhelmed amid a COVID-19 surge and are urging the public to take action to mitigate the consequences, The Hill reports. According to an ad taken out in newspapers across the state, hospital leaders said their emergency departments are overfilled and all hospital bed are filled. As such, care for non–COVID-19 events is threatened. Behind New Hampshire and Rhode Island, the state has the third-most per capita COVID-19 cases in the country, and the number of individuals in Minnesota hospitals is approaching the height of its winter peak of 2020, prior to the rollout of vaccines.