By Daily Caller. Washington State has been at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus since January. The first confirmed case of the coronavirus in the U.S. was in the state, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Jan. 20. As of Thursday, over 17,000 people have been tested in Washington, and 1,187 have tested positive, the Washington State Department of Health reports. The death toll was at 66 as of Thursday, the highest in the country.
Washington, and more specifically, Seattle, has emerged as America’s coronavirus laboratory, highlighting the challenges and deficits in resources the country is currently facing, as local, state, and federal governments have gone into overdrive to find solutions to the shortages of critical materials like face masks and testing.
President Donald Trump has even invoked a Korean War era law called the Defense Production Act to fill the gaps in medical supplies by harnessing by requiring corporations to accept and prioritize contracts for materials necessary to aid national defense, CNN reported. “I view it — in a sense as a wartime president,” Trump said Wednesday.
If this is war, Washington state’s doctors are on the frontline. The Navy has even sent its two hospital ships, which can be used to treat non-coronavirus patients, to allow Seattle-area hospitals to focus on the pandemic, Wired reported. King County, where Seattle is located, is creating field hospitals at multiple locations for additional isolation and quarantine sites, the Seattle Times reported. . .
But the biggest concern is still personal protective equipment for hospital staff, who have reported reusing face masks after spraying or wiping them down with sanitizer, supplies of which are dwindling in some hospitals, the New York Times reported. Typically, masks should be replaced after each use, but there aren’t enough in stock at many hospitals for doctors and nurses to be able to use more than one or two per day. (Read more from “Washington Hospitals Are Facing a Space and Supply Scarcity in the Fight Against Coronavirus” HERE)
Coronavirus Is Killing Italy’s Doctors. The U.S. Could Be Next.
By The Daily Beast. Dr. Marcello Natali never left the front line in the northern Italian town of Codogno when the novel coronavirus outbreak exploded more than three weeks ago. And the front line is where the 57-year-old physician died this week from the disease he fought so hard. Natali, whose wife is also a health care worker, had no preexisting conditions, and was far younger than the median age of 80 of most of Italy’s nearly 3,000 COVID-19 dead. But he only agreed to get the intensive care he desperately needed last week after his symptoms overwhelmed him.
He didn’t go in sooner because he didn’t want to take an intensive care unit bed from anyone else. The crisis has put a severe strain on the entire health care system, with some of the best hospitals in Europe using corridors for ICU wards. Natali was taken by ambulance first to a larger facility in nearby Cremona and then to Milan, where he died alone in isolation. And since funerals are prohibited as part of the national lockdown, he will not even receive a hero’s burial. . .
Natali, who was the head of the region’s Federation of General Practitioners, is the fourth doctor to die in the original red zone, which has been under lockdown since Feb. 23. Just days before he went into intensive care, he gave a radio interview in which he complained that testing was taking too long and that there were many cases that family doctors were taking care of on a house call basis without full protection, exposing them to the virus. . .
As the virus spreads to the United States, health care workers there are watching Italy’s situation closely, and terrified doctors have sounded the alarm repeatedly. But the numbers do not augur well. Italy’s state run health care system is able to provide 3.2 beds per 1,000 people compared to 2.8 beds per 1,000 in the U.S, according to the OECD. On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department confirmed that Italy had sent 500,000 swabs to the U.S. to help complete test kits. The fact that the sick are now helping those perceived to be stronger should be worrying. . .
At least 2,629 health care workers—roughly 8.3 percent of all cases in Italy—have contracted COVID-19 from working with inadequate equipment or being exposed to asymptomatic carriers, according to the latest results from the Ministry of Health. (Read more from “Coronavirus Is Killing Italy’s Doctors. The U.S. Could Be Next.” HERE)