Only 16,600 ventilators. That’s the total number of breathing…
Only 16,600 ventilators.
That’s the total number of breathing machines that sit in the Strategic National Stockpile, the government reserve meant to fortify overwhelmed hospitals in a crisis. It’s a small supplement to the U.S. medical system’s estimated 160,000 or so ventilators — many already in use — and not nearly enough to help patients survive a severe outbreak of coronavirus infections, health experts say.
The previously unreported stockpile number, confirmed by a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services official who works with the reserve program, shows just how few ventilators are available to a national health system bracing for the full impact of the coronavirus.
The U.S. could have as many as 742,000 patients who need ventilators in a severe outbreak similar to the 1918 Spanish flu, according to a study by the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University, and more than 64,000 in a moderate outbreak.
The government’s secret ventilator stockpile is nowhere near enough to fight the coronavirus – Center for Public Integrity
In a severe outbreak, we could be short hundreds of thousands of life-saving breathing machines. In rural areas, some hospitals might have to fend off the virus without a single one.