Hospitals

Why the US is facing a hospital bed shortage

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Does the U.S. have enough hospital beds?

Hospitals in the U.S. are under siege.

As the number of coronavirus patients continues to mount, medical facilities across the country have run out of health-care workers, ventilators and even hospital beds.

As of April 27, about 1 million people in the U.S. were infected with coronavirus and more than 55,000 people have died.

New York, the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., has been devastated.

Before the outbreak, the state had 53,000 beds in 187 hospitals.

But that wasn't enough. 

More than 57,000 people have been hospitalized for Covid-19 infections in New York alone as of April 26.

To make up for the shortfall, city and state officials announced they would convert racetracks and tennis courts into field hospitals and demanded hospital administrators increase capacity.

Health officials have been sounding the alarm about pandemics for years.

According to a study by Johns Hopkins University, if the U.S. were hit with a moderate pandemic, like the flu of 1968, about 1 million people would need to be hospitalized.

In the event of a more severe outbreak, like the Spanish flu of 1918 that killed 500,000 people in the U.S., about 10 million people would be sent to the hospital.

But over the past four decades, U.S. hospitals have shed more than half a million beds.  

The coronavirus pandemic is pushing the U.S. health-care system to the brink. 

The question is how will it respond and will the U.S. run out of hospital beds?

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