(CNN)The number of patients hospitalized across the US with Covid-19 is the highest it’s ever been — and at this rate health experts warn some hospitals may have to ration nurses, respirators and care.
And in Los Angeles County, where a crush of cases have filled hospitals’ intensive care units for days, at least five hospitals have already turned patients away because of oxygen supply issues, officials say.
“The surges and the impact on our ICUs across the country is absolutely devastating. … This is the nightmare scenario we worked so hard to prevent,” Dr. Peter Hotez, an infectious disease specialist at the Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN on Tuesday about the hospital situation nationwide.
The United States reported 121,235 coronavirus patients in hospitals Monday, the most reported on a given day during the pandemic, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The country’s proportion of ICU patients who have coronavirus also has shot up, from 16% in September to 40% last week, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
“When you run out of capacity, physicians and bioethicists in these hospitals will need to decide which patients are salvageable — potentially salvageable — and which patients aren’t,” CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner said Monday.
December already has been the country’s deadliest month of the pandemic. And with travel increasing over the holidays, health experts anticipate the spread of the virus will increase and send hospitalizations surging further.
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