Based on conversations with colleagues in Italy, Spain, and the United States, the answer is YES! They are reporting a shortage of health care professionals, hospital beds, ventilators, and stamina. They are likening it to war like conditions.
Some have accused me, and others, of fear mongering. I’ve seen others post how this is a “hoax,” fueled by hysteria and the media.
I don’t think we need to panic!
Most will not get the virus. For the majority of those who do get the virus, it will be mild, no worse than a cold or the flu.
I believe it’s my responsibility to serve my audience and patients with up to date unbiased information. I hope to do so in this blog. If this convinces someone to take action now and prevents them or their family from getting and or spreading the virus then I’ve done my job.
However, based solely on what I’ve heard from doctors in Italy, we should definitely take this pandemic seriously.
“Franky, I don’t know for how long the health system can cope, I don’t even want to think about how it could end,” Milan’s Sacco Hospital infectious disease department head Massimo Galli told the Financial Times. “We are holding up, but other hospitals are much worse off than us and it is a fact that we will come increasingly under pressure in the coming days.”
“The mayor of one town complained that doctors were forced to decide not to treat the very old, leaving them to die. In another town, patients with coronavirus-caused pneumonia were being sent home.“
In less than three weeks, the coronavirus has overloaded the health care system all over northern Italy. It has turned the hard hit Lombardy region into a grim glimpse of what awaits countries if they cannot slow the spread of the virus and ‘‘flatten the curve’’ of new cases — allowing the sick to be treated without swamping the capacity of hospitals.”
In the Lombardy region, healthcare workers have been working around the clock. About 350 (20%) have been infected, and some have died, according to the report. Italy’s government is considering hiring 20,000 more medical workers and providing 5,000 more ventilators.
Please keep in mind Italy isn’t a third world country. They have a modern health care system with highly trained doctors and health care workers.
Italy Health Care System Is Overwhelmed By The Corona Virus
Italy has now seen 1,016 deaths, amid a total number 15,113 infections. Civil protection officials say 1,258 have recovered, although the number of cases has gone up by 2,651 since Wednesday.
According to the WHO, there have been more over 130,000 confirmed cases of people sickened by COVID-19 over 5,000 people have died from the disease—a death toll that has far surpassed that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic that occurred in 2002 and 2003.
Covid-19 generally seems to lead to more severe disease than seasonal flu strains, in part because people have no immune protection against the new virus. Anyone who gets infected with the virus has limited protective immunity and will become sick to some degree.
However, severe infection, and death, increases with age.
Someone over the age of 80 has up to a 40% mortality risk, whereas a 20-year-old has < 1% risk of mortality. Estimates of general mortality rate are between 2-4%. Flu infections generally kill less than 1% of those infected.
Anyone with cardiovascular, pulmonary or blood sugar disease should be especially concerned. The coronavirus has an affinity for attacking the lungs, but the underlying condition most connected with COVID-19’s worst outcomes are afflictions of the heart.
There are reports of acute cardiac injury, arrhythmias, hypotension, tachycardia, and a high proportion of concomitant cardiovascular disease in infected individuals, particularly those who require more intensive care.
These infections can create a “blood storm” of inflammation that runs throughout a person’s body. An early study of Wuhan patients spotted “fulminant myocarditis,” an unusual syndrome that erodes the muscles in the heart. It appears for some, the virus and the oxidative stress it creates, fuels inflammation that may attack the heart tissue.
Diabetes can also spur atherosclerosis and accelerate these plaque ruptures, and those with the disease also have relatively suppressed immune systems, making them more vulnerable for infections.
Nearly half the adults living in the United States have high blood pressure.
Likewise, diabetes is a household name, with one of every 10 Americans—34.2 million across all ages—dealing with the disorder. Both can factor into cardiovascular disease, a wide spectrum of disorders that kill one person roughly every 37 seconds in the United States.
Confirmed U.S. cases of those Covid-19 remain low but this will surely change soon.
Keep in mind a new study published in Lancet found that coronavirus patients are contagious from eight to 37 days. Without a doubt we have numerous people walking around with subtle or no signs of the virus. These “carriers” can infect others, up to one month after contacting the virus.
Once we are able to test widely, we will begin to identify the large number of infected patients. Massachusetts just started more widespread testing this week and colleagues of mine at one of the larger hospitals diagnosed 100 new cases in the last 2 days.
With a doubling rate of infection of 5 – 6 days, cases can rise exponentially over time. This means that we can go from 50 cases to 25,000 cases in 10 weeks. If 20% (5,000) of these patients are significantly ill, at least half of them will need to be in the hospital (2,500).
Experts estimate that up to half of those infected will need to be cared for in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). And once in the ICU, they could remain there for weeks, clogging the ability to admit new patients to the ICU.
What will the number of infected / hospitalized be in 8 weeks?
Will local, state and national health care facilities and staff be able to cope with the corona outbreak? Unfortunately, panic and fear will drive many to seek care when its not needed contributing to severe shortages of health resources.
In a Lancet report last week, two authors from Italy said the percentage of COVID-19 patients needing ICU treatment has ranged from 9% to 11% and that ICUs will be at maximum capacity if that trend continues for 1 more week. They predicted that Italy will need 4,000 more ICU beds over the next month, a challenge given that the country has about 5,200 ICU beds.
The state of Alabama’s largest hospital, leading pioneer, and highly respected, University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) has 300 ICU beds; other hospitals in Alabama have fewer ICU beds. Experts say there are less than a few hundred ICU beds available to serve almost 5 million residents in the entire state of Alabama. And most of those beds are already occupied.
Most likely you’ll not become sick.
However, many will, and along with the hysteria, this virus will disrupt your normal life in many ways. It is best to be prepared.
- Stock up on all prescription medications
- Stock up on needed household items including food, pet food, and toiletries
- Wash your hands frequently when you go out of the house Even better stay home!
- Keep your kids at home!
The time to take action is now! Not next week. You should get you and your family prepared now! Today. I believe the next 2 weeks crucial to get as healthy as you can. While there aren’t any known prescription meds that can fight the virus, there are numerous natural remedies that help boost your immune system. Here is blog article that covers the natural protocols for helping to prevent and treat the corona virus.
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