Intensive-care unit and lung doctor Dr. Vin Gupta told CNBC that the next two months in the United States should have everyone in a "disaster mindset" as Covid-19 cases explode across the nation.
"Doctors in the reserves, U.S. Air Force Reserves, we haven't leveraged all of our capabilities, we should be deploying those resources — military, national guard, you name it, disaster credentials for anybody who's trained appropriately in ICU medicine," the professor at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said Monday evening. "We need all hands on deck here."
Nationwide, a record 102,148 people were in hospitals with coronavirus as of Monday, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Hospitals in New Mexico have reached the point where they may have to begin rationing care. The state is likely the first to have all of its ICU beds filled during the pandemic, now they are beyond capacity. It has more than 43 people per 100,000 hospitalized for Covid, the fourth highest in the nation according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Gupta told CNBC's "The News with Shepard Smith" that care-rationing would, in fact, spread to other regions across the country. "This is a fact of life and is one of the reasons why we're anticipating about 500,000 Americans will lose their life in total by the end of February, because we're care rationing and we cannot get people the care they need at the scale they need given how out of control this pandemic is."
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation's modeling projects 538,893 Covid-19 deaths by April 1.
In an attempt to preserve life, governors are using hospitalizations and ICU capacities as key metrics to guide new restrictions.
On Monday, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that parts of the state will shut down if hospitals hit 90% capacity. He also said indoor dining in New York City could close soon.
At least 33 million people in California are under regional lockdowns after ICU capacity dropped below 15% in some regions. Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the order will last at least three weeks.
Gupta, a NBC medical contributor, delineated what he described as "common sense" measures that included urging people not to travel by bus or plane, minimizing gatherings, and stopping indoor dining. "I think these are, unfortunately, the parameters we have to abide by," he said. "Do I think they're draconian? I think they're common sense and I think if we can keep to those things, we'll be able to mitigate transmission until vaccines get deployed in the near-term horizon."
Gupta implored Americans to wear three-ply masks everywhere in public and added that for people age 55 and older, there's "compelling data" to suggest wearing the added layer of a face shield along with a three-ply blue mask was safer.