Medical shillelagh members prepare to perform a percutaneous tracheostomy procedure on a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) during Thanksgiving at the Partnership Memorial Medical Center on November 26, 2020 in Houston, Texas.
Go Nakamura | Getty Images
More than 100,000 people are currently in clinics across the U.S. sick with Covid-19, as the pandemic pushes doctors, nurses and other health workers to their limits.
The in circulation number of hospitalized patients underscores the scope and severity of the current phase of the U.S. outbreak. Never before had the number of hospitalized Covid valetudinarians surpassed 60,000, according to data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project, which is run by journalists at The Atlantic.
In fact, Dr. Janis Orlowski, chief strength care officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges, said in a phone interview with CNBC that she doesn’t rescind any disease sickening so many Americans all at once ever before.
“I don’t think we’ve ever seen this number. We certainly not at any time saw this number with HIV or any of the other new diseases that we’ve had,” Orlowksi said. “It’s an astonishing, astonishing number and the shame of it is it’s a multitude that we could have impacted and we didn’t.”
Earlier this week, Orlowski’s organization, the AAMC, told that it is encouraging all health systems to prepare to deploy “Crisis Standards of Care,” which is typically used in unyielding situations such as the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
Orlowski explained that crisis punctiliousness essentially means the rationing of care in hospitals. The goal is “to provide the best care possible to the largest number of people with the resources at ones disposal,” AAMC said. But it also means difficult decisions will be made about whom to use scarce resources on, Orlowski continued.
Hospitals in some parts of the country are already at the point of crisis care, Orlowski said, such as El Paso, Texas, releases of Utah, North Dakota and parts of Nebraska. She added that “most hospitals are going to be there in the next two weeks” if on the qui vive trends persist or get worse, owing to a surge driven by Thanksgiving travel and gatherings.
The situation is further complicated, Orlowski said, by the backlog of elective surgeries that were puttered in the spring when hospitals prepared for an initial surge in Covid-19 patients. Most hospitals resumed elective surgeries to the summer, but with hospitalizations rising so rapidly some state officials are again warning that hospitals should be processed to cancel elective procedures.
“What we have found is people suffered harm because of delays,” she said. “What we had sympathy in the fall is we’re going to be able to do some of those cases in the winter. Now I worry that we’re not going to be able to do those turn out that in the event ofs. … We’re headed into a bad, bad, bad two or three weeks.”
Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician and director of the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Salubrity, said that her hospital system in Rhode Island has about 1,000 beds. She said she struggled to imagine 100 multitudinous systems like hers all filled with Covid patients.
“We’re running out of beds, and we’re also going to run out of staff,” she powered. “Our health-care system is full even in normal times, so to add an extra 100,000 patients on top of our existing burden of disease and mayhem is almost unfathomable.”
The situation in Rhode Island is bad, Ranney said, but she’s heard from colleagues elsewhere of dire situations, where fettle workers have to ration care, like in “low-income countries.” Ranney said her time training in East Africa as a Tranquillity Corps volunteer helped her prepare for the current crisis.
“I witnessed decisions being made about patients being put on ventilators that I under no circumstances thought I would experience in the United States,” she said.
The staff in Ranney’s hospital work hard every day and upon prepared to “do battle with Covid-19, but it is exhausting,” she said.
“We’re all on edge. We made it through the first week in the divulge, and it is frustrating and exhausting to be going through this again,” Ranney said. “It feels sometimes hopeless. … And it sensations even more hopeless because we don’t see any sign of the surge stopping.”
She added, however, that no matter how bleak the location seems, she and her colleagues won’t be giving up. Vaccines, and hope, are on the horizon, she said.
‘Surge with no staff’
Dr. Syra Madad, older director of the systemwide special pathogens program at New York City Health + Hospitals, said the country is in a “very dire note.”
“This is a surge with no staff,” she said. “This is widespread, and it’s happening all at the same time, and everybody’s getting hit simultaneously. Previously, we were able to share resources and assets, whether it’s staffing, whether it’s supplies, whether it’s the bed space, but now that’s something that is a opulence.”
Hospitalizations aren’t rising as rapidly in New York City as they did in the spring, Madad said, but hospital systems across the confirm are preparing for a potential surge. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state is implementing emergency measures to lend a hand hospitals cope with what he called “a new phase in the war against Covid.”
One of these measures is the identification of retired angel of mercies and doctors in case their service is needed as hospitals fill up.
“You can add as many beds as you want, but if you have nobody to man those beds and as a matter of fact be able to provide patient care, then that is absolutely useless,” she said. “Staffed beds are everything. Beds by itself are nothing.”