Curve flattening is being used to influence policies across the country, but it’s being done in a vacuum if we don’t know the basic information regarding our healthcare capacity.
What resources are available to address the medical needs of those seeking hospitalization due to the COVID-19 virus?
Sadly, edicts are be levied against citizens predicated on the theoretical statistical model of curve flattening—but no one has questioned just how much capacity the country can marshal to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
How many beds are available to treat COVID-19 patients?
Must those beds all be categorized as ICU (Intensive Care Units)?
How many ventilators are available?
How mobile are our resources?
Can patient loads be relocated across a state or across the country?
Can medical equipment be shared nationally?
What is the length of stay in a hospital—i.e. how long is a bed occupied and therefore unavailable for any new case?
Exactly what is our healthcare capacity?
Given the statistical model of curve flattening is being used to direct public policy in regard to the COVID-19 virus, one would think the most influential factor driving the decisions made by public officials should be healthcare capacity.
After all, the curve flattening model clearly demonstrates the model was developed to keep the peak number of Coronavirus hospitalizations below the healthcare system capacity line—to prevent systems from being overwhelmed.
It should be apparent in order to prevent our healthcare systems from being overwhelmed, we first need to know that capacity.
Ironically, there is no mention of capacity when governors declare draconian measures such as shuttering all non-essential businesses and imposing “stay at home” edicts.
In part, there is no push back because we are in crisis mode; therefore, no voice of dissent is allowed. (Read: In Times of Crisis: No Room for Dissent)
But seriously, when a governor such as Michelle Luhan-Grisham of New Mexico closes all non-essential business and tells the populace they are not to leave their homes unless it’s absolutely necessary—the local media should have at least asked why.
At the time of the edict, New Mexico had 5 hospitalizations due to the Coronavirus.
The question: How many hospitalizations should trigger the draconian measures imposed by the New Mexico governor?
Oddly, that question cannot be answered—at least not without knowing the overall capacity of the healthcare system.
Would the system be overwhelmed by 10 or 20 cases—the citizens of New Mexico don’t know, because they weren’t given the essential information of the actual healthcare capacity.
In fact, the decision made by the New Mexico governor was made in a vacuum. It was not based on anything rational.
A rational response would have been based on the number of cases, the trend in cases—and most important, the capacity of the state’s healthcare system.
Give the public the information they need to make informed decisions—let them know the healthcare capacity.
Not sharing the vital system information allows politicians to take draconian measures detached from the real world.