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Report: RSV, COVID, flu push US hospitals to brink of collapse

Pedestrians walk past a signs hanging outside Pfizer headquarters in New York and one hanging at a bus stop encouraging the COVID-19 booster, May 23, 2022. (MARY ALTAFFER / AP)

NEW YORK / WASHINGTON – Hospitals across the United States are overwhelmed, with the combination of a swarm of respiratory illnesses (RSV, coronavirus, flu), staffing shortages and nursing home closures sparking the state of distress for the already overburdened health-care system, reported The Washington Post over the weekend.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the US health official celebrated and vilified as the face of the country's COVID-19 pandemic response, used his final White House briefing on Tuesday to denounce division and promote vaccines

"Experts believe the problem will deteriorate further in coming months," reads the report.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 exacted a higher infection-related and excess all-cause death toll from the United States than from 20 peer countries throughout the pandemic but had less of an impact in the most-vaccinated states in the Delta and Omicron surges, according to a new study.

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"Adjusted for population size, the United States had 155,000 to 466,000 more deaths than peer nations in the second half of 2021 and early 2022," the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota reported on Monday, citing the study published in JAMA last week.

Separately, Dr Anthony Fauci, the US health official celebrated and vilified as the face of the country's COVID-19 pandemic response, used his final White House briefing on Tuesday to denounce division and promote vaccines.

Fauci, who plans to retire soon as President Joe Biden's top medical adviser and top US infectious disease official, has dealt with the thorny questions around health crises from HIV/AIDS to avian flu and Ebola.

READ MORE: US CDC concerned for new Omicron subvariants

But it was his handling of COVID – and his blunt assessments from the White House podium that Americans needed to change their behavior in light of the pandemic – that made him a hero to public health advocates while serving under former President Donald Trump, a villain to some on the right and an unusual celebrity among bureaucratic officials used to toiling in obscurity. Fauci has regularly been subjected to death threats for his efforts.

True to form, Fauci used his final press briefing to strongly encourage Americans to get COVID vaccines and booster shots, and touted the effectiveness of masks, all of which became partisan totems in the United States.