A Twitter thread from Jeremy Konyndyk, Former US Foreign Disaster Assistance chief, is yet another data point in a growing pile of indicators that we may really not be at all ready to handle an nCoV-2019 outbreak here in the US, especially if it strikes during an already busy flu season.
Had a very concerning chat with a hospital exec recently about preparedness for nCoV.
US hospitals nowhere near ready for conditions like we're seeing in China. Neither are those in the developing world.
If anything, this NYT report may be too rosy.https://t.co/TqllwoURBe
— Jeremy Konyndyk (@JeremyKonyndyk) February 10, 2020
This isn’t much of a surprise, since the 2017-2018 flu season overwhelmed a hospitals in a number of states, to the point that beds were being set up in tents.
And then there are the likely equipment and drug shortages that continued city-by-city lockdowns in China — the world’s factory and the world’s pharmacy — will inflict on a US healthcare system that is totally dependent on it for critical supplies.
Meanwhile, not only did the current administration gut the White House office responsible for pandemic preparedness and coordination last year, but there are further cuts proposed to the CDC and aspects of the epidemic response set up during the Ebola scare.
It’s not just the US, either, that’s unprepared for what may be coming. A new report from the Global Health Security Index finds that the global health system is not in good shape to handle a major pandemic.
“The results are alarming: All countries – at all income levels – have major gaps in their capabilities, and they aren’t sufficiently investing in biological preparedness,” said Ernest J. Moniz, co-chairperson and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, in a written statement. “The bottom line is that global biological risks are growing – in many cases faster than health systems, security, science and governments can keep up.”
This fits with the WHO report on global pandemic preparedness from back in September, which found that the world is woefully unprepared to handle a fast-moving, deadly respiratory virus.
Then there’s Africa, which is especially in danger from the new virus, and knows it. It’s concerning to the WHO and other health authorities that Africa has yet to report a case of the virus — this is certainly due to a lack of testing, and not to a lack of the virus, itself. It’s possible — probable, even — that the virus is currently spreading there undetected, and once we uncover a cluster there we can probably kiss the recent slowdown in ex-China growth, goodbye.
Update: More on the US’s lack of preparedness, including not nearly enough hospital beds to handle anything major.
6) @RonaldKlain: “If it gets worse, it’ll be inflicted on HC system; When was Ebola-czar, I was czar of nothing. We have no command and control healthcare, hospitals all locally/state managed; CDC super fast, but in small hospital in middle of country, it doesn’t move quickly”
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) February 11, 2020
Sobering math. We don't have enough hospital capacity to deal with a #coronavirus outbreak (#COVID19) in the US. This could dramatically increase the fatality rate above what is currently seen outside of China.(1/5)
— Steven Hebert (@talentpharmNYC) February 11, 2020