Story at a glance
- Hospitals and other medical facilities in the United States have struggled to obtain the resources necessary to test and treat COVID-19 patients.
- New cases continue to be confirmed every day as states begin reopening their economies.
- Science experts say the country needs to start restocking medical supplies in the coming months.
Nine of former President Barack Obama's top science advisors are calling for immediate action to rebuild the nation's medical supplies in a new letter, warning that time is running out. The letter was sent to members of the Trump administration, Congress and other major political operatives, according to The Guardian, which also obtained a copy of the letter.
“Preparation for a resurgence needs to be initiated now. It needs to be at a national level, in close collaboration and coordination with state and local officials,” wrote the authors, led by John Holdren, Obama’s White House science adviser, according to The Guardian. The other authors include Eric Lander of MIT and Harvard, Chris Chyba of Princeton, Susan Graham of UC Berkeley and other members of the Obama administration's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS RIGHT NOW
The United States has been struggling with shortages of medical supplies and other resources since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The lack of needed tests and personal protective equipment (PPE) contributed to the need for drastic social distancing measures, leading to stay-at-home orders in most states.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has been tracking hospital resource use since early in the pandemic. The model predicts the number of hospital beds, ICU beds and invasive ventilators needed to treat COVID-19 patients. After peaking in April, there are still more than 40,000 beds and 11,000 invasive ventilators needed, according to the model.
Resource use is predicted to decline in the coming months, with the model predicting that about 1,900 beds, 700 ICU beds and 570 invasive ventilators will be needed on Aug. 1, assuming that no changes are made to current social distancing practices. But as states begin to reopen, that number is expected to go back up.
BREAKING NEWS ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC