Time Magazine 4th October 2021 Dual Issue there is a sense of déjà vu in The u.s. medical community right now, a year and a half after COVID-19 first slammed into the health care system and knocked it down like a feather. Hospital beds are filling up, and most alarmingly, space in intensive-care units (ICUs) is at a premium. As of Sept. 14, 80% of ICU beds in the country were occupied, 31% of them filled by patients with COVID-19, according to data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In some states, hospitals already have more patients than beds available. Time Magazine 4th October 2021 Dual Issue In Alabama, for example, 100% of ICU beds are occupied, but Dr. Karen Landers, assistant state health officer at the Alabama department of public health, says in an email to TIME that the situation is actually worse. The state “reports that Alabama hospitals are in the negative zone in terms of ICU beds,” she writes. “Alabama hospitals have more ICU patients than ICU beds.” The state is one of a number that has had to ask for federal assistance to care for their critical-care patients. Unlike in the previous crush on the health care system during the first and second COVID-19 waves, one factor frustrating doctors and nurses this time is that what’s driving the surge are people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. It’s no coincidence that the states with the highest ICU-bed occupancy are also those with relatively low vaccination coverage. The strain is pushing health administrators into an ethical corner: how to decide which of the extremely limited beds and staff should go to which patient. Time Magazine 4th October 2021 Dual Issue.
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