WASHINGTON – Three out of every four hospitals in the United States have patients with confirmed or possible cases of the coronavirus, says a report by the federal government that medical centers will soon be overwhelmed as the pandemic reaches its peak.
A combination of problems is aggravating each other, forming a vicious circle, the document says. Such issues include lack of evidence, slow results, shortage of protective equipment, lack of respirators, and exhausted medical personnel anxious for their own health.
“There has been a kind of domino effect,” said Ann Maxwell, deputy general inspector for the Department of Health and Human Services.RELATED
“These challenges are exacerbating each other and exacerbate the situation and it occurs as a cascade effect,” he added.
The inspectorate-general’s report is based on a telephone survey of 323 hospitals in the United States, conducted between March 23 and 27. With hundreds of new cases of the coronavirus emerging every day, the situation becomes critical for the country’s 6,000 hospitals. A copy of the report was released to The Associated Press.
“Hospitals reported that the greatest challenges revolve around screening tests, caring for patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, and protecting the health of staff,” the document states.
“Every hospital in America is likely to have to deal with this,” added Maxwell.
In most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that disappear in two to three weeks. In some people, especially older adults and those with underlying health conditions, it can lead to more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia, and even death. Most people recover.
The United States is the country with the most people diagnosed with coronavirus, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. According to projections, the crisis will reach its peak in the coming days.
Maxwell emphasized that the objective of the report is to describe the dilemma that overwhelms hospitals. He added that the most striking conclusion is that a number of diverse problems are affecting each other and producing a systemic crisis.
For example, the lack of diagnostic tests and the slowness in giving results means that hospitals have to accommodate people with unconfirmed cases of coronavirus longer.
This in turn leads to the occupation of the few beds in hospitals and the use of protective equipment such as gowns, masks and plastic lenses, since doctors and nurses must assume that any patient with respiratory difficulties could have the virus.