The U.S. Has Passed the Hospital Breaking Point

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 The Atlantic, public-health experts have warned of one particular “nightmare” since the beginning of the pandemic. The nightmare was the possibility of the number of coronavirus patients exceeding the capacity of hospitals in a state or city to take care of them. In this scenario, doctors and nurses will have to put beds in hallways, spend less time with patients, and become more strict about who they admit into the hospital at all. Many people will unnecessarily suffer and die.

Unfortunately, this “nightmare” of a situation has arrived. And experts fear the situation is worse than it was in the spring. Several forms of evidence are now sending us the same message: Hospitals are becoming overwhelmed, causing them to restrict who they admit and leading more Americans to die unnecessarily.

The average American admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 today is probably more acutely ill than someone admitted with COVID-19 in the late summer. This is simply because doctors and nurses are running out of hospital beds and must tighten the criteria on who can be admitted.

A national breakdown in hospital care is now starkly apparent in the coronavirus data. It is clearest in a single simple statistic, recently observed by Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. For weeks, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 had been about 3.5 percent of the number of cases reported a week earlier. But, he noticed, that relationship has broken down. A smaller and smaller proportion of cases is appearing in hospitalization totals.

“This is a real thing. It’s not an artifact. It’s not data problems,” Jha said.

Share this

Related Articles

                                Leave a Comment