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Idaho allows rationing of medical care statewide amid surge in covid hospitalizations

Medical professionals pronate an unvaccinated covid-19 patient at St. Luke's Boise Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, on Aug. 31. (Kyle Green/AP)
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Hospitals throughout Idaho are now allowed to ration medical care as the state expands its “crisis standards of care” criteria in the face of overwhelming coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

“The situation is dire,” Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said in a statement. “We don’t have enough resources to adequately treat the patients in our hospitals, whether you are there for COVID-19 or a heart attack or because of a car accident.”

The announcement expanded protocols from earlier this week that moved to begin rationing care in some overburdened hospitals dealing with the surge in covid-19 patients.

While not all hospitals may need these “last resort” measures, crisis standards of care allow them to prioritize — or potentially deny care — when faced with a shortage of resources such as ventilators, drugs and staff, based on who they think will benefit the most.

Here’s what to know

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  • Parenting a child under 12 can be maddening and scary during normal times, but the delta variant has taken things to a new level.
  • President Biden accused several Republican governors of using their power to prevent their constituents from being protected from the spread of covid-19.
  • Retail sales rose unexpectedly in August, the Census Bureau reported Thursday, as consumers dined out and braved the back-to-school shopping rush despite the delta variant’s growing grip on the nation.
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Here's what to know:

The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee is set to meet Friday for a nonbinding vote on whether the agency should approve a third dose of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
Parenting a child under 12 can be maddening and scary during normal times, but the delta variant has taken things to a new level.
President Biden accused several Republican governors of using their power to prevent their constituents from being protected from the spread of covid-19.
Retail sales rose unexpectedly in August, the Census Bureau reported Thursday, as consumers dined out and braved the back-to-school shopping rush despite the delta variant’s growing grip on the nation.

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Coronavirus: What you need to know

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot. New federal data shows adults who received the updated shots cut their risk of being hospitalized with covid-19 by 50 percent. Here’s guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

New covid variant: The XBB.1.5 variant is a highly transmissible descendant of omicron that is now estimated to cause about half of new infections in the country. We answered some frequently asked questions about the bivalent booster shots.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people. Nearly nine out of 10 covid deaths are people over the age 65.

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