Birx: There Is No Present Shortage of Hospital Beds or Ventilators in New York

March 27, 2020 Updated: March 27, 2020

There is no present shortage of intensive care unit beds or ventilators in New York, according to Dr. Deborah Birx, a senior member of the White House coronavirus task force.

Birx made the comment during a White House briefing on March 26 in response to discussions in the media about the possibility that the state’s healthcare system may be overwhelmed by patients infected by the CCP virus.

“We are reassured in meeting with our colleagues in New York that there are still ICU [intensive care unit] beds remaining and there are still significant—over a thousand or two thousand—ventilators that have not been utilized yet.”

Birx pointed to CNN and Washington Post coverage of “do-not-resuscitate situations” being discussed in some hospitals as being disconnected from the reality on the ground. A do-not-resuscitate order is written by a doctor in agreement with a patient or the patient’s family. CNN and the Post both reported on discussions at some hospitals of overriding the wishes of the patients and families in order to protect doctors and nurses from potential infection from resuscitation due to potential lack of protective gear.

Birx said such media reports are overblowing the significance of technical discussions which take place at hospitals as doctors and nurses prepare for worst-case scenarios which may or may not occur.

“There is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion,” Birx said.

“You can be thinking about it in a hospital. Certainly many hospitals talk about this on a daily basis, but to say that to the American people, to make the implication that when they need a hospital bed it’s not going to be there, or when they need that ventilator it’s not going to be there, we don’t have any evidence of that right now.”

Birx was addressing the projected shortage of hospital beds and ventilators in New York state. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has regularly relied on a projection that New York will need 140,000 hospital beds and 30,000 ventilators. The state has an estimated 53,000 beds and is far short of the projected need for ventilators. Birx underlined that there is no current shortage and that the White House is constantly adjusting to the reality on the ground.

“Right now you can see these cases are concentrated in highly urban areas. There are other parts of the States that have lots of ventilators and other parts of New York state that don’t have any infections right now. So we can be creative. We can meet the need by being responsive.”

At a coronavirus briefing in New York, Cuomo said the state is stockpiling ventilators for when they are needed.

“We don’t need them today because we’re not at capacity to day,” the governor said. “That’s why they’re not deployed, because they’re not needed.”

Birx has recently been vocal in calling for a sense of calm and taking a rational view of some of the doomsday projections about the CCP virus.

New York has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States. The outbreak is concentrated in New York City, which reported 365 total deaths and over 30,000 confirmed cases on March 26.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

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