Despite Media Announcements to the Contrary, Hospitals Have Ample Capacity for COVID-19 Patients. In Fact, They Are Almost Empty

Empty hospital, Youtube

Many cities and states have called for lockdowns, business closures, and curfews to slow the spread of COVID-19. The justification supposedly is to avoid overwhelming hospitals. For most of 2020, rising positive test results of COVID-19 have brought with them fears of swamped hospitals and COVID-19 patients dying in hallways. Data shows, however, that hospitals nationwide have ample space to deal with both routine medical issues and COVID-19 patients. A well-functioning hospital normally runs at about 85% capacity. The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that hospitals nationwide now are at about 75% capacity. Intensive-Care Units are even lower, at 63.5%. Patients who tested positive for COVID-19 occupied less than 15% of all hospital beds nationwide – and, of course, most of those patients do not have COVID-19 in spite of the tests.

In 2020, millions of dollars were invested in the construction of new medical facilities for the anticipated onslaught of COVID-19 patients that never materialized. Most of these facilities have been closed. For example, the city of Chicago spent $120,000,000 on four facilities that, in the end, treated 38 patients, none of which were proven to have had COVID-19. -GEG

As fears persist of overwhelmed medical systems and at-capacity hospitals nationwide, data indicate that ample hospital space remains available for both COVID-19 patients and other medical needs, with one official at a major hospital network stating that the country is “managing pretty well” the latest surge of COVID-19.

For most of 2020, rising positive test results of COVID-19 have brought with them fears of swamped hospitals, overwhelmed medical systems, emergency patients being turned away, and COVID-19 patients being triaged, suffering and dying in hallways and vestibules.

Much of that fear crystallized in the early stages of the pandemic, when parts of the northern Italian medical system were put under significant strain due to a crush of COVID-19 patients. In response, leaders and medical officials around the world suspended elective surgeries and constructed emergency medical facilities to cope with anticipated waves of COVID-19 patients.

In many cases those facilities were eventually shuttered for lack of patients, even after millions of dollars had been invested in their construction. In Chicago, for instance, the city spent $120,000,000 on four facilities to treat a total of 38 patients.

The latest spike in positive COVID tests has brought renewed fears of hospitals straining under an influx of COVID-19 patients, with some facilities across the country reporting difficulties managing large numbers of patients, either from a dwindling number of scarce beds or not enough medical officials to man them, or both.

Capacity nationwide appears to be far from overwhelmed

Yet federal government data compiled from state-level reports suggests that hospitals nationwide have considerable space left to deal with both routine medical issues and COVID-19 patients.

The Department of Health and Human Services offers on its website estimates of hospitalization rates across the United States. The data, the department says, is “estimated from hospital submissions, either reported through their state or reported through HHS Protect,” which the department describes as “a secure data ecosystem … for sharing, parsing, housing, and accessing COVID-19 data.” (HHS did not respond to queries about any limitations or caveats to the data.)

The HHS numbers belie forecasts of impending collapse of the U.S. medical system. As of Saturday, the department estimated that hospitals nationwide were at about 75% capacity. ICU beds were even lower, at 63.5%. Patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 occupied just under 15% of all beds nationwide.

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Louis Teff
Louis Teff
3 years ago

Ah, the hospital overload lie. Fooled us once – shame on you. Fooled us twice – shame on us. When they did this last April/May people went into hospitals taking videos and found them empty. Nurses so busy they had time to do tic-toc videos.

3 years ago

Hospitals over here are BEGGING for business ! ! !
Running TV ads saying they are READY for ANY type
surgical procedures – like the old time barber shops –
2 chairs / NO WAITING.

Allan Doucette
Allan Doucette
3 years ago

15% are called Covid because a faulty PCR test says so. In Canada 45,000 of smoking related deaths and 14,600 die of air pollution related deaths I doubt the death certificate states the real cause with supposed Covid deaths. There is a serious virus that needs to be eradicated but it’s not Covid, it’s Fascism.