A federal government plan to respond to the coronavirus pandemic warned that the crisis could last more than a year, according to The New York Times.
A 100-page plan dated last Friday ahead of President Trump’s national emergency announcement warned that the pandemic “will last 18 months or longer” and could come in “multiple waves.”
The report urged Trump to invoke the Korean War-era Defense Production Act to force American companies to ramp up production of supplies like ventilators and protective gear for health workers.
“Shortages of products may occur, impacting health care, emergency services, and other elements of critical infrastructure,” the report warned. “This includes potentially critical shortages of diagnostics, medical supplies (including [personal protective equipment] and pharmaceuticals), and staffing in some locations.”
“State and local governments, as well as critical infrastructure and communications channels, will be stressed and potentially less reliable,” the plan said. “These stresses may also increase the challenges of getting updated messages and coordinating guidance to these jurisdictions directly.”
UK report warns 2.2 million may die:
The plan came as British researchers concluded that as many as 2.2 million people in the United States may die without drastic action.
The report similarly said the pandemic could last up to 18 months, which is when experts expect a vaccine to become available.
The researchers found that between 8% and 9% of people over the age of 80 could die if they catch the virus.
“We don’t have a clear exit strategy,” said lead researcher Dr. Neil Ferguson. “We’re going to have to suppress this virus — frankly, indefinitely — until we have a vaccine.”
Hospitals brace for impact:
States around the country fear that their hospitals will be overwhelmed amid reports that there is a severe shortage of beds and ventilators across the United States.
“According to one projection, as many as 214 million people in our country could be infected over the course of the epidemic. Of those, as many as 21 million people could require hospitalization,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a New York Times op-ed. “This would crush the nation’s medical system… without immediate action, the imminent failure of hospital systems is all but certain.”