Over the last week, we have seen tens of thousands of confirmed cases of coronavirus in this country — and that number only continues to grow.
But according to Breitbart, Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, says all that additional testing and the surge of severely ill patients could cause hospitals nationwide to run out of critical supplies very soon.
Billions of masks needed
The U.S. recently surpassed 30,000 active cases of COVID-19, according to Worldometer’s tracker, but that big number isn’t the only concerning figure.
By Sunday, the number of critically ill patients in the U.S. had risen to 795, or roughly 2% of all active cases. The surge of critical cases and testing is putting a massive strain on protective gear for doctors and nurses, especially in hot spots like California, Washington state, and New York.
In addition to people hoarding these supplies, the manufacturers have not yet caught up with demand. These factors together, according to Dr. Redlener, are going to create a major problem very soon.
“This disease doubles every — somewhere between — three and four days, now, and that’s geometric. That’s horrendous if you think about how quickly that adds up,” he said, according to Breitbart. “We are in the early stages of a crazy hospital crisis, and we’re talking about emergency rooms all over the country literally running out of protective gear.
“Somebody, a very high official in the United States Department of Health and Human services — a very high official — told me that we need between two and three billion face masks, for example, yet we have a tiny fraction of that,” the doctor added.
Fixing the problem
This pandemic now has people expecting the worst, including Dr. Redlener, who compared it to the Spanish flu epidemic of more than a century ago.
The death tolls from that outbreak ranged anywhere from 17 million to 100 million — and even on the low end of that scale, it is truly frightening to hear the comparison.
To get ahead of the demand, numerous manufacturers are in the process of retooling their plants to make masks, ventilators, and other medical equipment that is already or may soon be needed if these numbers continue to climb.
President Donald Trump has also enacted the Korean war-era Defense Production Act, which allows Trump to demand manufacturing plants to make very specific equipment to bridge the gap.
On Sunday, Trump also gave several car manufacturers the go-ahead to begin mass-producing ventilators, the Daily Caller reported, one of the most critical pieces of life-saving equipment needed to get the nation through the crisis.