As Hospitalizations Surge, U.S. Health Care Faces Its Biggest ‘Stress Test’ Yet

December 9, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified December 22, 2020

According to this article from NPR, it’s now clear the winter surge of the pandemic is materializing in many of the ways that the country’s top scientists and health care leaders feared. The U.S. surpassed all records this week in number of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. For the first time, new infections exceeded above 200,000 cases in a single day.

“What we’re seeing now is less of a curve and more of a vertical climb,” says Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “It’s really an extraordinary acceleration.”

This last week, the daily death toll beat even the worst day of the spring, with nearly 2,900 lives lost on Thursday. And hospitals are teetering under the weight of so many critically ill patients. “This is going to be the biggest stress test of American health care in history,” says Dr. Bruce Siegel, president of America’s Essential Hospitals, which represents more than 300 safety-net hospitals.

The article continues to describe where matters currently stand:

  1. U.S. hospitals are staggering under their patient load
  2. No more “hot spots.” It’s everywhere
  3. Thanksgiving surge? Time will tell
  4. Deaths are hitting new records, and it will get worse
  5. Are new pandemic restrictions working?
  6. Twindemic? Not yet
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