Hospitals are running out of staff, supplies, and beds for Covid-19 patients — and this time could be worse
If hospitalizations continue to rise, health care workers in Arizona, Texas, and California fear they’ll be completely overwhelmed. With Covid-19 hospitalizations steadily approaching a record high in the US, states like Arizona have activated emergency plans and requested refrigerated trucks to prepare for overflow at morgues. Doctors there say packed emergency rooms and ICUs are forcing them to prioritize the sickest patients, leaving other ill patients to deteriorate while waiting for care they’d ordinarily receive right away. Hospitals in hot spots across the country are expanding and even maxing out their staff, equipment, and beds, with doctors warning that the worst-case scenario of hospital resources being overwhelmed is on the horizon if their states don’t get better control of the coronavirus. “With Covid, a lot of times people who aren’t sick enough yet get pushed to the back, and then they can become really, really sick unfortunately because we were focusing our efforts on the people who are on the brink of death,” an emergency room doctor at the Banner Health system in the Phoenix metro area, who asked to go unnamed fearing retaliation from his employer, told Vox. Other doctors in Arizona, where 88 percent of hospital beds statewide were in use Tuesday, say the scarcity of resources means they’ll soon be rationing medical care, as doctors in Italy were forced to do.