- A larger spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus across the U.S. could overwhelm emergency rooms and cause supply shortages of some crucial medical supplies.
- The threat of the new virus comes at an already busy time for most U.S. hospitals: Seasonal flu is at its peak.
“This is the time to open up your pandemic plans and see that things are in order,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, a top official of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urged hospitals last week as an outbreak of a deadly new coronavirus ravaged much of China.
“For instance,” she continued, health-care providers need to plan for a “surge at a hospital, the ability to provide personal protective equipment for your workforce, the administrative controls and so forth that you might put place in a health care setting.”
Schuchat’s warning came as U.S. and world health officials increasingly sound the alarm of a possible pandemic outbreak of the deadly new coronavirus that has killed more than 2,100 people in China in the last seven weeks.