As concerns over the capacity of hospitals resurface amid surging Covid-19 cases, two emergency room doctors say they worry about where the pandemic could take them next.
Dr. Mina Tran, an emergency room doctor in Texas, said 70 to 80% of her patients have been admitted with upper respiratory or coronavirus complaints.
In Arizona, which saw its lowest-ever number of available ICU beds Tuesday, Dr. Murtaza Akhter told Lemon so many patients are coming in that he is already having to make tough decisions over resources.
“I’m trying not to be an alarmist. I’m an emergency physician — we’re prepped for this. Dr. Tran and I both trained very hard for this. But we can’t just build beds overnight. We can’t just hire staff overnight. And like I said, our numbers are only increasing,” he said. “It’s only going to get worse and that’s the scary part.”
With a rise in hospitalization rates across the US, doctors like Akhter are reporting waiting lists for ICU beds and having to decide who will be admitted for treatment and who will not.
Surges in hospitalization and infection rates have followed larger crowds gathering in newly reopened public spaces. Every state has started their plan to reopen, and 35 are currently seeing more new cases reported compared to last week.
Tran applauded Texas Gov. Greg Abbott closing down bars once again but said she does think the state was too quick to open back up.
While many states have paused or rolled back reopening in light of a resurgence of cases, Akhter said seeing individuals continue disregard safe practices as his emergency room treats coronavirus patients makes him feel like he is “losing hope.”
“I’m going through shifts making some very tough decisions and then I’m driving home and seeing people who are clearly not distancing, having their Fourth of July celebrations, being in big congregate settings, and it feels like what I’m doing is futile,” Akhter said. “I don’t know what more people need to hear.”
And California and Florida are feeling the strain as well.
In Florida, where cases have surged, ICUs at 56 hospitals have reached capacity. And California’s hospitalizations were at an all-time high on Tuesday with nearly 6,000 coronavirus patients.