"We must take steps to alleviate the strain on our health care system and ensure care for all those who need it.”

Health officials may be bracing for the Omicron variant to sweep through the country, but the Delta variant remains the more imminent threat as it continues to drive an increase in hospitalizations, the New York Times reports.

Health care workers said their situations had been worsened by staff shortages brought on by burnout, illnesses and resistance to vaccine mandates.

More than 55,000 coronavirus patients are hospitalized nationwide, far fewer than in September, but an increase of more than 15 percent over the past two weeks, according to a New York Times analysis. The United States is averaging about 121,300 coronavirus cases a day, an increase of about 27 percent from two weeks ago, and reported deaths are up 12 percent, to an average of about 1,275 per day.

Michigan, which leads the country in hospitalizations per capita, announced last month that the federal government was sending health care workers to support some hospitals. On Wednesday, Vermont had a record of about 90 people hospitalized with Covid-19, according the state’s health department. And cases and hospitalizations are rising fastest in Connecticut, which recorded a 69 percent increase in patients in the past two weeks.

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