Health systems ration COVID-19 treatments as cases surge 

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Supply shortages and surging COVID-19 cases have prompted health systems across the country to ration treatments, The New York Times reported Jan. 6.

Despite the variety of treatments now available, including pills and infusions, the supply of those that are effective against omicron is extremely limited, the Times reported. 

The federal government only ordered 450,000 treatment courses of sotrovimab, the only antibody treatment that appears to be effective in treating omicron. Similarly, supplies of paxlovid, a Pfizer antiviral pill, are already being depleted across the nation, and officials estimate supplies won't be fully replenished until April. 

The Times said some health systems are developing algorithms to determine which patients receive care amid treatment shortages. Officials also must decide whether to give unvaccinated patients priority access to treatment since they are at higher risk for severe complications. 

"There is simply not enough to meet the needs of everyone who is going to have COVID in the upcoming weeks and be at risk of severe complications," Natasha Bagdasarian, MD, chief medical executive for the state of Michigan, told the Times. "I don’t think there is a way to make sure it gets to all the right people right now."

 

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