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COVID-19 hospital surge is totally unnecessary, expert says

The recent surge of COVID-19 cases for hospitals could be avoided with the vaccine

An emergency sign at Kootenai Health, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Emergency department sign is photographed at Kootenai Health, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Young Kwak, Associated Press

Multiple states are starting to ration care because of the coronavirus surge, leading to health crises across multiple hospital systems.

But Dr. Megan Ranney, associate dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University, said this was totally unavoidable and unnecessary.

Right now, states across the U.S. are seeing massive COVID-19 surges. Idaho has been reaching out to hospitals across the West for help with their critical care patients because COVID-19 is dominating their patient load right now, according to NBC News.

Hospitals have turned conference rooms into COVID-19 overflow units. And some hospitals are paying nurses $250 an hour to work there amid the surge. This has happened after Idaho enacted its “crisis standards of care,” which gave hospitals power to give help to those who need it most to survive.

Utah hospitals are seeing a massive surge. As the Deseret News reported, Utah hospitals aren’t enacting crisis care standards yet, but they’re doing everything they can to make sure that doesn’t happen.

And the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that 80% of ICU beds are in use right now. About 30% of those beds are from COVID-19 patients alone.

Ranney told CNN the high amount of ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients are unacceptable.

“It puts our health care providers in a state of moral injury where they’re going to have to see people die who they would normally be able to take care of,” Ranney said. “It is an unacceptable state for us to be in in the United States of America, and it is not fair to those doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, EMS providers.”

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the key way out of the pandemic is through vaccination, according to CNN.

“I hope that you ... hear very clearly that the number one thing that we can do to get through this is to get vaccinated. By percentage, 90+ percent of folks that end up hospitalized are unvaccinated. So how do we not overrun our hospitals? We get vaccinated,” Beshear said, per CNN.