Italy the Worst Case Scenario For COVID-19 in the U.S.

Ralph E. Stone
Sunday March 22, 2020 - 09:42:00 PM

Italy is the worst case scenario for the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic of what could happen in this country. Presently, as of March 15, Italy has 24,747 cases with 1,809 deaths — a rise of 368 or 25% in the death toll in just 24 hours. Italy is now in a nationwide lockdown in a bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19.  

London’s The Telegraph reports that a crisis management unit in Turin, Italy, has drawn up a protocol that will determine which patients will receive intensive care treatment and which will not if there are insufficient intensive care capacity is already running short. Intensive care spaces for COVID-19 victims aged 80 or more or in poor health would be denied care should pressure on beds increase. The ability of the patient to recover from resuscitation will also be considered. 

Even in the best of times, hospitals the U.S. run at near-full capacity with infection control a perennial problem. Unfortunately, as of now, there is no vaccine or cure for COVID-19 and probably will not be for 1 to 1-1/2 years. 

As one doctor said: "[Who lives and who dies] is decided by age and by the [patient's] health conditions. This is how it is in a war.” Note that according to the 2019 point-in-time count, 10% of San Francisco’s 9,764 homeless are 80 or older. The U.S. too is facing a war with hard decisions ahead. 

Unfortunately, we now have a deadly lack of leadership in the White House. I’m not sure we are fully prepared for this war against COVID-19.