Hospital Facilities Due to Covid-19


Lara Rieger, staff writer

What would you do if you were a physician with two patients and had to choose one of them that will most likely die while the other lives? When the Coronavirus spread rapidly in Italy, hospitals were overwhelmed by the number of cases and had to make these tough decisions quite often. If the Coronavirus keeps spreading this fast, the facilities in American hospitals won’t be enough either and American physicians will have to make the same decisions.

A lot of Coronavirus patients experience only mild conditions and don’t even need to be taken care of in a hospital. However, the number of patients with more severe conditions is augmenting too and need hospital care. To take care of these patients, it is important that there are enough intensive-care beds, mechanical ventilators as well as enough regular hospital beds.

There are also about 3.3 million home health-care workers in the U.S. that play a very important role in the war against the Coronavirus. While hospital physicians and nurses take care of the most severe cases, the in-home workforce is very important for taking care of the other cases. But they lack personal protective equipment as well. 77% of the workers do not have enough masks and 57% do not have enough gloves.

Experts say, if two in ten adults are infected, the patients will need more than the available supply of mechanical ventilators; however, those breathing machines are among the key hospital resources that can help patients facing death when the virus attacks their lungs. At least two-thirds of the available intensive care and regular hospital beds will be used, but in small towns, it is more than likely that hospitals will experience shortages of beds too. 

That’s why it is important that you stay at home as much as you can and practice social distancing. If you do so, the virus will spread a lot more slowly, which means hospitals won’t be overwhelmed with too many cases at a time and doctors won’t have to choose who gets a chance of living and who doesn’t.