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WASHINGTON — Hospitals didn’t get the relief the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines seemed to promise at the beginning of 2021, as vaccine hesitancy mixed with nationwide outbreaks squeezed already tired workforces.

Next year isn’t looking much better. The emerging Omicron variant is already escalating coronavirus case counts, and staffing is already in shortage. Support from the federal government is dwindling. Entering the third year of the pandemic will test how thin hospitals can stretch scarce resources, and whether new iterations of Covid-19 will turn the pandemic into a seemingly interminable nightmare for the facilities on the front lines of the pandemic.

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