Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), said Tuesday that the United States won’t return to a functioning economy if hospitals are overrun with patients who have contracted the CCP virus.
Cheney’s comments come as the White House wrestles with how soon local economies throughout the United States should be allowed to resume normal enterprise, or if returning to “normal” would create a collapse of the medical system.
“There will be no normally functioning economy if our hospitals are overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we have failed to do what’s necessary to stop the virus,” Cheney wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was asked in a recent interview if the U.S. healthcare system is prepared with emergency equipment, like ventilators, for the number of CCP virus cases projected to flood hospitals.
“That may not be enough if we have a situation where we really have a lot of cases,” he said.
The United States has about 2.8 hospital beds per 1,000 people, while South Korea and Japan, two countries that have seemingly escaped the exponential case growth trajectory, have more than 12 hospital beds per 1,000 people.
According to the CDC, out of the daily confirmed cases of the CCP virus, 12 percent need to be hospitalized. Hospital capacity in urban centers will likely be over-burdened, given the dense populations and growing rate of infections.
Given the percentage of CCP virus cases that will need to be hospitalized, the threat to the healthcare system in urban centers poses a great challenge. For this reason New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called on the federal government to augment the city’s healthcare system.
President Donald Trump confirmed at a recent Coronavirus Task Force press briefing that U.S. medical ship the Comfort was going to assist New York in its fight against the virus. “And we are going to be bringing that ship—that’s called the Comfort. So, you have the Mercy and the Comfort. The Comfort is on the East Coast,” Trump said.
But even with the Comfort and its 1,000 beds, New York may still struggle under the weight of the number of patients.
“You will have people on gurneys in hallways,” Cuomo said at a press conference on Monday, later adding that New York would need up to 110,000 total hospital beds, around twice the number it currently has. “That is what is going to happen now if we do nothing,” he said.
Authorities nationwide are taking major steps to expand capacity, building tents and outfitting unused spaces to house patients. They also are urging people to postpone elective surgeries, dental work, and veterinarian care. Cuomo has called for using military bases or college dorms as makeshift care centers.
Among the biggest concerns is whether there will be enough beds, equipment, and staff to handle several large outbreaks simultaneously in multiple cities.
Fauci said it’s critical that steps be taken now to prevent the virus from spreading quickly.
“The job is to put a full-court press on not allowing the worst-case scenario to occur,” he said.
While Fauci does not expect massive outbreaks in the United States like in Italy, he said there is the possibility that an overwhelming influx of patients could lead to a lack of supplies including ventilators.
“And that’s when you’re going to have to make some very tough decisions,” Fauci said.
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.