The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Idaho moves to start rationing medical care amid surge in covid hospitalizations

A nurse attends to a covid-19 patient in the intensive care unit at St. Luke's Boise Medical Center in Boise, Idaho. (Kyle Green/AP)
Placeholder while article actions load

For the first time in Idaho’s history, officials in the state on Tuesday moved to start rationing medical care in some overburdened hospitals grappling with a surge in covid-19 patients — a grim reflection of the delta variant’s devastation and a dire warning for other health-care systems pushed to the brink by rising infections.

Officials activated Idaho’s “crisis standards of care” for at least 10 hospitals in two public health districts, saying in a statement that a “massive increase in patients with COVID-19 who require hospitalization” had led to a shortage of staff and beds. Idaho has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with less than 40 percent of the population fully vaccinated.

Total coronavirus infections reported in the United States passed 40 million on Tuesday, as the nation adds an average of more than 150,000 cases each day.

Here’s what to know

  • Amid a surge in coronavirus cases, particularly among the unvaccinated, President Biden plans to give a speech Thursday outlining his proposal to stop the spread of the delta variant as autumn approaches.
  • The average number of children hospitalized each week with covid-19 is steadily rising.
  • Authorities in the Netherlands have made it harder for American travelers to enter their country, the latest to do so after the European Union removed the United States from its “safe” list of countries whose residents should not face travel restrictions.
  • Booster confusion appears to have reached epidemic proportions amid a flood of new scientific studies that are not always consistent with one another.