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US doctors plead for more equipment

An ill crew member from the Costa cruise ship Favolosa (right) is led to a waiting ambulance after being brought ashore in a lifeboat to the US Coast Guard Base Miami Beach. (AP)

America’s caseload surpasses 91000, making it the world leader in confirmed patients

By Reuters in New York
  • Published 28.03.20, 1:52 AM
  • Updated 28.03.20, 1:52 AM

US doctors and nurses on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak on Friday pleaded for more equipment to treat a wave of new patients expected to swamp capacity, going so far as to ask President Donald Trump to invoke emergency powers.

Doctors have called attention to a desperate need for more ventilators, machines that help patients breathe and are widely needed for those suffering from Covid-19, the respiratory ailment caused by the novel coronavirus.

Hospitals in New York, New Orleans and other hot virus spots sounded the alarm about a shortage of medicine, supplies and trained staff as the US caseload surpassed 91,000, making the US the world leader in confirmed cases.

“This is past a movie plot. Nobody could ever think of this, or be totally prepared for this. You’re going to have to wing it on the fly,” said Eric Neibart, infectious disease specialist and clinical assistant professor at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. “The scale is unbelievable.”

The US ranked sixth in deaths with 1,362, according to a Reuters tally of official data. Worldwide, confirmed cases rose above 551,000 with nearly 25,000 deaths.

While coastal states have captured much of the attention, counties surrounding Chicago and Detroit were also emerging as areas of concern, said Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

One emergency room doctor in Michigan, an emerging epicentre of the pandemic, said that he was using one paper face mask for an entire shift because of a shortage and that hospitals in the Detroit area would soon run out of ventilators.

The doctor, Rob Davidson, urged Trump to use the Defence Production Act to procure more test kits and ventilators.

“We have hospital systems here in the Detroit area in Michigan who are getting to the end of their supply of ventilators and have to start telling families that they can’t save their loved ones because they don’t have enough equipment,” Davidson said in a video he posted on Twitter.

With the crisis mounting, Trump has resisted invoking the Defence Production Act, an emergency law granting him broad procurement authority. Instead, he has used Twitter to pressure manufacturers to act on their own.

Trump demanded that General Motors begin producing ventilators “NOW”. He also told Ford to “GET GOING ON VENTILATORS, FAST!”

In a separate tweet, Trump said that the federal government had purchased a large quantity of ventilators from a number of companies, and that details would be announced later on Friday.

In addition to aiding hospitals, the package will send cash to businesses and unemployed workers suffering from the effects of stay-at-home orders that have had the side effect of strangling the economy.

In New York state, where there have been 44,635 cases and 519 deaths, governor Andrew Cuomo has said any coronavirus scenario would overwhelm the healthcare system.

After turning a convention centre into a temporary hospital in a week, the state plans to build eight temporary hospitals in a campaign to increase the number of hospital beds from 53,000 to 140,000. Some hospitals are converting cafeterias and atriums into space to house intensive care patients.

A number of hotels in New York City, including the famed Plaza Hotel, the St Regis and the Four Seasons, will make rooms available to medical workers fighting coronavirus or to non-critical care patients, Cuomo said.

A little luxury would be welcomed by doctors and nurses working long hours while exposing themselves to the virus and coping with the loss of patients.

On Friday, the announcement of the death of Kious Kelly, a nurse manager at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, highlighted the sacrifices being made by medical professionals.

Via- The Telgraph-India

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