I live in a small city in New Zealand, and have some inside info on our local public hospital. Today, our Emergency Dept was at 90% of total physical (and clinical) capacity at one point, ICU at 50%, and several of our wards at 60-70%. Clincians are stressed and overworked as it is, and this is before the flu season (Southern Hemisphere) and before any Covid-19 cases.
We don’t have enough GPs, and there are waiting lists to “enroll” with one. At some GP practices you have to wait 4-5 weeks (yes – weeks) to get seen.
People just don’t realise how stretched our system is. Locally, we won’t even be able to handle dozens of hospitalised cases, let alone hundreds, or thousands.
We have a large Chinese population and students too, so I’m very surprised that we haven’t any cases yet, but apparently there are three New Zealanders evacuated from the Diamond Princess that have just tested positive.
One of my friends who’s a GP has said that he’s waiting to see how this turns out in Germany, France and the USA before he will get concerned. He reckons the third world countries are not a good barometer to predict how it will affect us, but I’m not so sure. Of course there are already the economic and supply chain issues which we can’t escape. Our meat, dairy and timber exports have already been hit badly.