A doctor wearing full protective equipment treats a patient in an ICU bed.
Pulmonology physician Catherine Wentowski treats a COVID-19 patient at the Ochsner Medical Center in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, on August 10, 2021.
Kathleen Flynn/Reuters
  • An Iowa ER doctor pled with viewers on social media to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
  • He blamed misinformation about vaccines for the swell of COVID-19 patients flooding ICU beds.
  • "It feels like a third-world country sometimes," Dr. Lance VanGundy said.
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An emergency room doctor from Iowa pled with Facebook users during a live video stream to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

"We are drowning in people who are dying with this illness," Dr. Lance VanGundy, an ER doctor who works at UnityPoint Health in Marshalltown, told viewers.

VanGundy said that he'd recently seen non-COVID-19 patients with meningitis, stroke, heart attack, and blood clots in the lung, but couldn't transfer them to ICUs because "they're all full" with people who had COVID-19. He warned that if patients get sick then they'll have to wait as long as "days" for a bed to open up.

"This is bad," he said. "It feels like a third-world country sometimes."

VanGundy decried "misinformation" about vaccines and about the virus for the current state of hospitalizations.

"In over 20 years of doing this I have never been this busy or this stressed or seen this many sick people," he said.

Polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation show that 14% of people in the US do not plan to get vaccinated, and others who haven't yet are taking a "wait-and-see" approach, despite the Pfizer vaccine being fully authorized by the FDA and health experts assuring they're safe.

More than 90% of COVID-19 patients currently in Iowa ICUs aren't fully vaccinated against the virus, according to data from the state Department of Public Health.

The US appeared to turn the corner on the pandemic a few months ago as more Americans got vaccinated, but then vaccinations slowed and down a far more contagious variant of the virus, known as Delta, began to proliferate. Officials also fear new seasonal surges are ahead in states.

Iowa has fully vaccinated 61% of its population 12 and up who are eligible for immunization, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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