Hospitals do not build beds and ICUs for Worst Case Scenarios, such as the coronadoom apocalypse that has long been promised but has not yet arrived, a time in which everybody falls ill and has to be tended to in hospital.
The average ICU occupancy rate is almost 70%. Which means it does not take much to “overwhelm!” one. Same with bed numbers. Money is lost when most beds are empty most of the time. So hospitals aren’t built to have scads of excess capacity.
Reports are everywhere now about raging surges and surging rages of coronadoom “cases”, all of which ignore testing levels and disease severity. Ignore that and let’s ask if we’ve seen this kind of hyperbolic hyperventilating hypersensitive headlines before.
Let’s start with the most sober source, which is to say, not a corporate media site. We’ll move from that to only what are considered “reputable” media sources to see how often they tried to panic us through the use of hyperbole and omission of perspective. Searching is limited to those things on line, which will of course give a recency bias.
Wow! Sounds like a lot! “At least four people have died and thousands have been taken to hospital with respiratory problems after a ‘thunderstorm asthma’ event in Melbourne on Monday 21 November.” Also “Victoria’s health department said that since the event more than 8500 patients had presented to hospitals with respiratory problems…”
Tellingly, the BMJ does not say how unusual this number is. Is it normally 8400 and they got an extra 100? They do say 60 people are still undergoing treatment. Ah.
First lesson: ignore all stories that give no historical context. Where by “all” I mean all.
Wow! Tents! Are Navy ships next?
The 2017-2018 influenza epidemic is sending people to hospitals and urgent-care centers in every state, and medical centers are responding with extraordinary measures: asking staff to work overtime, setting up triage tents, restricting friends and family visits and canceling elective surgeries, to name a few.
“We are pretty much at capacity, and the volume is certainly different from previous flu seasons,” says Dr. Alfred Tallia, professor and chair of family medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey. “I’ve been in practice for 30 years, and it’s been a good 15 or 20 years since I’ve seen a flu-related illness scenario like we’ve had this year.”
Tallia says his hospital is “managing, but just barely,” at keeping up with the increased number of sick patients in the last three weeks. The hospital’s urgent-care centers have also been inundated, and its outpatient clinics have no appointments available.
2016: Guardian, NHS hospitals now so overwhelmed patients could die, says top doctor.
Wow! The “NHS is now in an eternal winter.” Now where have we heard that phrase before…?
2011: Globe & Mail, Hospitals overwhelmed by surge of flu cases
Wow! “…clogged hospital emergency rooms, postponed elective surgeries…” Say!
2018: CBS, Hospitals overwhelmed by spike in flu cases.
2011: LA Times, Swamped hospitals fear an ER emergency
2014: Dayton Daily News, Hospitals overwhelmed by flu cases ask some to stay away
2009: News Perspective, ‘Worried well’ overload gives taste of pandemic scenario – cidrap, “…overwhelmed…”
2018: Fox 32, Chicago area hospitals overwhelmed with flu patients
2011: Taipei Times, German hospitals overwhelmed with E.coli outbreak
2009: CNBC, Swine Flu Might Overwhelm Hospitals in 15 States.
2019: Daily Mail, Hospitalizations surge for sepsis, UTIs and kidney failure.
2019: Healio, Opioid-related hospitalizations surge for rheumatic diseases.
2018: Toronto City News, Surgeries postponed after severe flu cases overwhelmed hospital.
2019: National Geographic, The world’s second-biggest Ebola outbreak is still raging
2019: NIH, Leprosy—A raging persistent enigma.
2015: Euractiv, Report: Tuberculosis still raging in Eastern Europe.
2016: Global Contagions, While the world focuses on Zika, Dengue is raging in the background.
2016: NYT, Zika Cases in Puerto Rico Are Skyrocketing
2013: Washington Post, The flu can kill millions.
2017: Ars Technica, Mysterious flesh-eating bacteria is raging in Australia.
2014: Tell Me Project, The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is still raging.
2013: Chicago Magazine, Chicago Has a Raging Case of Gonorrhea.
2019: Chicago Tribune, Commentary: Ebola is raging again — and the US is not ready.
2019: Irish Times, Half of Ireland’s hospital doctors exhausted and overwhelmed by work.
2019: Telegraph, Hospitals at ‘breaking point’ as winter NHS crisis deepens.
2017: France 24, French hospitals cancel operations amid brutal flu epidemic.
2018: LA Times, Swamped hospitals fear an ER emergency.
2017: Washington Post, Surge in human cases of deadly bird flu is prompting alarm.
2019, U. Minnesota, DRC Ebola surge marks 2nd straight record-setting day.
2005: NYT, Hurricane and Floods Overwhelmed Hospitals.
1958: NYT, Virus Epidemic Hits India.
1966 NYT, FLU DEATH TOLL UP TO 7 ON WEST COAST. Maybe the first attempt to do daily panic death stats.
1966 NYT, Influenza Epidemic in Far East; Less Dangerous Type The 57-58 Asian flu went on the kill about 2 million worldwide, at a time when the population was about a third it is now.
The second lesson is never trust the corporate media. Seek second opinions.
2008: NYT, Fort Bragg baby boom overwhelms hospitals.
Well, not all news is bad.
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