The Coronavirus Is Testing the Limits of Hospital Systems

The Coronavirus Is Testing the Limits of Hospital Systems 1

As, for the second day in a row, Italy sees a drop in new cases and coronavirus deaths, there is a glimmer of hope for the country that the measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 are working. But Italy’s hospitals continue to be overrun with patients and doctors continue to make tough choices on who will get treatment.

The drop in cases comes at the same time as New York City begins to get closer to being ‘maxed out’ at its hospitals. With more than 15,000 people infected and nearly 200 dead in NYC, Italy could be a preview for what American hospitals could look like in the not too distant future.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States has 2.8 hospital beds per 1,000 people. That number is lower than Italy (3.2), China (4.3), and Spain (3.0), the three other countries with the most confirmed cases. That number is also significantly lower than South Korea’s (12.3), a country that has been praised for its response to the pandemic.

hosiptal beds per 1k

As a result, hospitals across the country are bracing for a drastic increase in coronavirus patients. One projection in Florida shows that the hospitals across the state would not have nearly enough capacity if 20% of the population got the coronavirus over the next six months. Experts suggest that 40-70% of the world’s population may get the coronavirus by the end of this year.

Despite the warnings of limits to the hospital system, President Trump commented on the economy, saying “I would love to have it opened by Easter.”

The call to open up the economy goes against the advice of experts and is contrary to the steps governors are taking across most states.

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