According to a recent study
published by ProPublic, "vast communities in America are not prepared to take care of the onslaught of COVID-19 patients showing up."
In the study's most optimistic projection, where social distancing flattens the curve of cases (about 20% of U.S. citizens infected over 18 months), many hospitals will still become overwhelmed. In Italy, where we've already seen the devastating effects of a low equipment to patient ratio, hospital staff are being forced to triage their patients. Please sign this petition urging the federal government to spare no expense in providing hospitals with what they need in the fight against COVID-19!
In the same study laid out by ProPublica, the worst case scenario for the United States' hospital system would require 7 times more hospital beds than are currently available.
And the country's number of ventilators is far worse. It is estimated that there are approximately 100,000 of the breathing machines in the entire nation.
Even more troubling is their distribution. Washington, the state with the highest rate of COVID-19, has the second lowest number of the machines per capita in the entire country.
West Virginia has the second largest supply, but was the last state to report a case of the novel virus. Hospitals need an influx of beds and respirators immediately, before the surge of new coronavirus patients that is sure to come.
In order to admit the number of patients projected in the United States, and to keep all existing hospitals from becoming overcrowded, overwhelmed, and essentially inoperative, extra space must also be sought. In Wuhan, China, the city in which COVID-19 originated, temporary hospitals proved to be an integral part in the fight against the virus. The 16 temporary hospitals
housed in structures such as stadiums and exhibition centers received a total of about 13,000 patients over the course of the outbreak. But due to a lack of new cases, they have all been able to close. Wuhan, and China as a whole, has reached the point of no new local infections thanks to these interim medical centers.
To combat the spread of the coronavirus, large gatherings, events, and non-life sustaining businesses are shuttering in the United State, which means there will be ample opportunity for spaces to temporarily serve as hospitals.
The United States has yet to see the worst of this pandemic. But that means there is still hope for us to prepare.
Our legislators must act fast to bolster our front lines - our hospital systems. Sign the petition now to demand that hospitals be expanded and provided with the lifesaving equipment they need.