Coronavirus patients start to overwhelm New York hospitals

Coronavirus patients start to overwhelm New York hospitals
Source: WUNC

The surge in coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), the virus causing the COVID-19 disease, patients in the United States has begun to put a strain on public healthcare.

Public health experts in the US have previously warned that medical professionals would be forced to ration care and decide on which patients get a ventilator.

“In my shift yesterday, nearly every single patient that I took care of was coronavirus, and many of them extremely severe. Many were put on breathing tubes. Many decompensated quite quickly. There is a very different air this week than there was last week,” Dr. Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian / Columbia University Medical Center in New York City told CNN.

According to top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a pandemic like this virus would exhaust medical resources and doctors would need to make a choice regarding providing ventilators based on the severity of the case. “An outbreak, a pandemic like this could overwhelm any system in the world. Without enough ventilators, “that’s when you’re going to have to make some very tough decisions,” said Fauci.

New York pushes for ventilators

Health officials in New York are fighting for increased hospital capacity as 6,618 new cases and 95 deaths were recorded on March 25.

New York state has the highest number of cases in the country, with 32,966 cases – roughly 6% of the global cases.

Ventilators have become the most sought-after medical equipment. New York hospitals currently have 4,000 ventilators in total and will be receiving two shipments of 2,000 machines this week from the national stockpile. The state reportedly needs at least 30,000 ventilators.

Tesla has pledged to help with ventilator production for New York via its Giga New York factory. “Giga New York will reopen for ventilator production as soon as humanly possible. We will do anything in our power to help the citizens of New York,” Tesla’s founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted on March 26.

Javits Center turned into hospital

Plans to build emergency hospitals and setting up 1,000 beds for non-COVID-19 patients in New York’s largest convention hall, Jacob K. Javits Center are in progress.  

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that thousands of retired medical professionals have signed up as a “surge health care force”, on March 25.


Have a tip or story? Get in touch with our reporters here!