How Prepared is America for a Coronavirus Pandemia?


In 2005, the federal government sought to assess how a respiratory-related pandemic might play out in the United States. Its report estimated that a severe influenza pandemic would require mechanical ventilators for 740,000 critically ill people.

Today, as the country faces the possibility of a widespread outbreak of a new respiratory infection caused by the coronavirus, there are nowhere near that many ventilators, and most are already in use.

Tens of thousands of other respiratory devices could be repurposed in an emergency, experts say, but the shortfall could be stark, potentially forcing doctors to make excruciating life-or-death decisions about who would get such help should hospitals become flooded with the desperately sick.

Much about the coronavirus remains unclear, and it is far from certain that the outbreak will reach severe proportions in the United States or affect many regions at once.

With its top-notch scientists, modern hospitals and sprawling public health infrastructure, most experts agree, the United States is among the countries best prepared to prevent or manage such an epidemic.

Do you feel safe?


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