Hospitals in New York area brace for possible delta-fueled surge

COVID-19 hospitalizations are once again surging in some states, including Florida and Louisiana. Hospitalizations in the New York area are creeping up at a much slower pace but some doctors say the trend is still alarming.

Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Monmouth County admitted several new COVID-19 patients on Tuesday. 

"It's almost like 'Winter is coming' from Game of Thrones. It's busier," said Dr. Eric Constanzo, the pulmonary critical care director there. "I know what it took the first surge, I know what it took the second and third surge. Do I have enough in the tank?"

At NYU Langone Tisch Hospital on Manhattan's East Side, Dr. Anthony Steve Lubinsky, the director of respiratory care, is also closely watching as case numbers creep up.

"It's concerning that if there's a spike in cases due to pockets of unvaccinated people, due to decreases in the mandates for face coverings and masks and spread of new variants, that we could be in the middle of another surge," Lubinsky said. "The severe COVID-19 that we're seeing right now is not any different than it was last year. When it's severe, it's just as serious, just as deadly, just as protractive."

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He said while some of the COVID-19 treatments have improved, different patients react differently.

"Our approach is a little better. But the most important thing is to prevent: vaccination and masks and face coverings in places where that's recommended," Lubinsky said.

The message, the doctors say, remains the same: for those who haven't yet: get vaccinated.

"It's disheartening to see an uptick when all of us in health care are exhausted and now the numbers might be climbing, and there's a potential to sort of offset that," Costanzo said.