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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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As the coronavirus outbreak and COVID-19 pandemic continues to mushroom across the United States and abroad, the fear is growing that healthcare systems simply will become overwhelmed by the demand.
For instance, Washington Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins has taken the stance that the only responsible course now is to cancel this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, after consulting with a friend of hers who is an emergency doctor.
“Things are accelerating. Cases in New York are doubling overnight. There were more than 275,000 cases worldwide as of Saturday, and while it took three months to count the first 100,000 infections, it took just 12 days to reach the 200,000 mark,” Jenkins wrote. “Hong Kong has reported its single biggest jump in cases to date, apparently because people are still traveling. Get it? The disease is speeding up because we aren’t shutting down fast enough.
“We don’t have time for athletes to keep training or meeting with coaches, risking infection or becoming asymptomatic spreaders,” she added.
The name of the game, as Jenkins points out, is to buy time. In just province of Italy, more than 100 physicians of 600 are ill.
“We’re acting like we have time, and we don’t,” her doctor friend said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Dave Campbell, medical correspondent at NBC News, fears that US hospitals could soon find themselves overwhelmed.
“I am frightened that the hospitals across the country will be running out of supplies, overrun with patients that are testing positive to coronavirus, COVID-19 disease, and that we will be running short of ventilators, and perhaps most importantly, the personnel that will be required to treat the patients that are sick, the healthcare workers will themselves become infected periodically and then they’ll need to stay away from other patients, or they will get sick enough to stay in a hospital bed,” Dr Campbell said.
“So we have this conundrum that is going to make us look like Italy if we don’t, all across the country, socially distance, and if there is even time to do that. But it is better to do that than not,” he added, in an on-air segment with MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski. “So I’m quite concerned, Mika, that in the next two to four weeks, we will be having different discussions.”
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