Health professionals are increaingly sounding the alarm over the U.S. healthcare system, warning that the coronavirus outbreak could quickly overwhelm unprepareed hospitals without swift action to provide equipment to nurses and doctors.
“This is a nationwide problem, even on the private side,” an anonymous doctor told NBC News.
“No clinic in this country, or hospital for that matter, is going to have enough equipment.”
NBC News reported that around 250 doctors and nurses responded to an informal survey request and painted a bleak picture of a healthcare system already on the verge of collapse with at least a month to go before coronavirus cases peak in the U.S.—citing in particular a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).
According to NBC News:
Nearly all who responded said there were shortages of PPE in the hospitals, outpatient clinics and offices where they worked.
Many reported being forced to ration or reuse supplies, including surgical and N95 masks, for fear of running out. Many also said they were facing shortages of basic sanitary supplies, including hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
One Philadelphia doctor interviewed by NBC News said her husband—also a doctor—is on the frontlines in the city.
“I am so scared,” she said. “I can’t even begin to tell you.”
Calls for the federal government to step in and order manufacturers to produce equipment increased Friday, with the union National Nurses United issuing a demand for immediate action to protect healthcare workers.