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US COVID-19 count crosses 3 million, hospitals struggle with supply of medical equipment

ANI | Updated: Jul 10, 2020 10:02 IST

Washington DC [USA], July 10 (ANI): The United States on Wednesday (local time) crossed the three-million mark of coronavirus cases and reported more than 129,000 deaths, as frontline health workers struggle to cope with the growing demand of virus hospitalisations, and exhausting supplies of protective gear and testing equipment.
According to The Washington Post, in pandemic hotspot states such as Florida, Arizona, California and Texas, hospitals are adding new intensive care unit beds and special air-flow systems to treat the increasing number of COVID-infected patients. In some cases, hospitals are also cancelling elective surgeries to free up space for those sick with the virus.
For example, hospitalisations in Texas have more than doubled in the past two weeks, filling nearly 80 per cent of the state's hospital beds.
About 45 per cent of the Texas Medical Center's 1,364 intensive care unit beds are now filled with coronavirus patients. The Houston-area hospitals have already cancelled many elective surgeries, and there are still recurring needs for intensive care unit beds for planned procedures such as organ transplants and unplanned emergencies like heart attacks and strokes, said David Persse, the health authority for the Houston Health Department.
Meanwhile, juggling virus patients with people suffering from other ailments have become even more challenging. Sometimes, patients are held in the emergency room for far longer than they would be normally, according to the Post.
Registered nurses who would normally be helping monitor ventilation and assisting in operating rooms are now being called to assist on COVID-19 floors. As a result, many nurses are dealing with the emotional fallout of working in the kind of high-intensity care usually reserved for ICU staff.
Health-care workers in hard-hit states were quoted as saying by the Post that they are rationing protective gear such as N95 masks so they do not face severe shortages such as in the early weeks of the pandemic. Some say they use one mask per day now, as opposed to throwing them out after each patient.
Thankfully, in states with surging cases, deaths have not spiked as sharply as hospitalisations -- a point touted by US President Donald Trump, who falsely claimed this week that the country had the world's lowest mortality rate from the virus.
Numerous countries have maintained lower death rates. (ANI)

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