Covid-19: Healthcare system could be overwhelmed, expert warns

March 22, 2020
132 Views

A top New York City surgeon has issued two ominous memos, warning that the healthcare system could soon be overwhelmed and that healthcare workers are at risk.

In a memo made public by Columbia University’s Department of Surgery, the chair, Dr. Craig Smith, warned that “the virus has breached our Department walls” and colleagues are becoming infected.

He also warns that coronavirus cases could keep climbing, reaching their peak in 22 to 32 days.

Smith also emphasized a dire shortage of personal protective equipment, noting that health care workers are using 40,000 N95 masks per day, and are projected to soon need 70,000 per day.

Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has urged New Yorkers to stay inside as much as possible, and on Friday banned all non-essential gatherings of any size and ordered all non-essential businesses to keep employees at home.

Even with the increased restrictions, New York’s hospital system appears headed for a crisis. Smith warned in one memo that frontline health care workers in the hospital system were at risk from treating their own patients.

“In the past few days it has also become obvious that the virus has breached our Department walls, and we can expect to hear about increasing numbers of infected Department colleagues,” he wrote in a memo published Saturday. “It should be no surprise if these infections appear in clusters associated with the care of infected patients.”

Like hospital systems across the country, New York facilities are also facing a dire shortage of personal protective equipment, Smith said.

For instance, health care workers at New York-Presbyterian are using 40,000 non-N95 masks per day, and are projected to soon need 70,000 per day. Demand is set to far outstrip availability, Smith said.

The entire US strategic reserve only holds 75 million masks, Smith said, and hospital officials have only been able to secure 150,000 — essentially a two-day supply.

Smith said that the Department of Surgery is at risk of being “overwhelmed within a few weeks” without “planning, cooperation, execution, personal sacrifice, and maybe a little luck.”

He also said that the number of previously undetected coronavirus cases in the city will be “much larger than imagined,” meaning his surgeons will increasingly be operating on patients with the coronavirus.

As of Saturday evening, the United States had confirmed more than 25,000 coronavirus cases and 307 deaths.

You may be interested

Arteta: I Allowed Soares, Lokonga, Marquinhos Leave To Gain More Playing Time
Sports
8 views
Sports
8 views

Arteta: I Allowed Soares, Lokonga, Marquinhos Leave To Gain More Playing Time

Webby - February 4, 2023

Arsenal boss, Mikel Arteta, has revealed that he allowed Lokonga, Marquinhos and Soares to leave the north London club because…

‘I’m Happy To Have Scored My First Goal’ –Ronaldo
Sports
2 views
Sports
2 views

‘I’m Happy To Have Scored My First Goal’ –Ronaldo

Webby - February 4, 2023

Al-Nassr forward, Cristiano Ronaldo, says he’s delighted to have scored his first goal for his club. Recall that Ronaldo nets…

Sports And Education – Fulfilment That Money Cannot Buy! –Odegbami
Sports
Sports

Sports And Education – Fulfilment That Money Cannot Buy! –Odegbami

Webby - February 4, 2023

This is for all young persons aspiring to a professional sports career, examined through my own story. Enjoy it. Two…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.