Coronavirus warning: Trump warned US hospitals will be ‘crushed’ if COVID-19 spreads

Coronavirus cases in the United States jumped to 1,269 in the past week and 37 people across the country have died because of the pandemic. US President Donald Trump upgraded plans to contain the COVID-19 outbreak by announcing a travel ban on all flights from Europe except from the UK. Ron Klain, who led the White House’s efforts to tackle Ebola during the Obama Administration, warned hospital staff in the US is at risk of being “overwhelmed” should the number of patients infected with coronavirus further increase. 

Asked whether he expects hospital staff to be “crushed” by the onslaught of COVID-19 sufferers, Mr Klain said: “We should expect it.

“We only have around a million hospital beds in this country, 700,000 of them are full of people who are sick right now.

“Of course, people come in and out of them so over the course of a year we hospitalise around 35,000,000 people in the country but people who are hospitalised with this, if you’re serious enough to go to the hospital, they are going to be there for a while.

“This isn’t a two-day hospitalisation thing. The problem is if you get a crush of cases, particularly in a city like New York but it could be big cities not just small cities, where capacity is limited.”

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Mr Klain also warned the US is facing similar threats to the ones Italy, the European country most affected by the coronavirus, has been grappling with since the beginning of the pandemic last month.

He continued: “We have a limited number of ventilators, we have 65,000 ventilators for the whole country.

“Almost all of them are in use right now, particularly during flu season. If this really kicks up and creates just even a small increase, we’re going to see hospitals in this country overwhelmed.

“Scenes like we’re seeing in Italy right now – people in the hallways, people just not being able to get care…you find with pandemics like this around the world, that often as many people die not from the epidemic but from the inability to get care for other things.”

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Dr Amesh Adalja, an expert in emergency medicine and infectious diseases, warned COVID-19 is “far more infectious than seasonal flu,” as he warned nearly 150 million Americans are at risk of becoming infected.

Dr Adalja said: “We have no population immunity to this. This is completely novel. Maybe up to 50 percent or more in the US will get sick from this.

Chief Congress and US Supreme Court physician Dr Brian Monahan had warned of a similar estimate in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, NBC News reported.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday said that when US coronavirus testing begins properly “the numbers are going to be shocking to people.”


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Governor Cuomo added that the genuine numbers of COVID-19 cases “are going to be sky high”.

In an address to the nation broadcast on Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump announced a ban on “most foreign nationals” who visited mainland Europe in the past 14 days.

President Trump blamed his decision on European countries for failing to halt all flights from China after the coronavirus began to spread outside the epicentre in the Hubei region.

Mr Trump said: “We are marshalling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people.

“We are all in this together. We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship and unify the nation as one family. Our future remains brighter than anyone can imagine… this virus will not stand against us.”

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