Global Health & Medicine 2021;3(2):56-59.
Hospital capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic
Kokudo N, Sugiyama H
The rapid global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a significant challenge to various countries in terms of the capacity of hospitals to admit and care for patients during the crisis. To estimate hospital capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians working in tertiary hospitals around the world were surveyed regarding available COVID-19 hospital statistics. Data were obtained from 8 tertiary centers in 8 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Turkey, Singapore, India, Pakistan, and Japan. The correlation between the number of patients with COVID-19 per 1 million population vs. the maximum number of inpatients with COVID-19 in a representative tertiary hospital in each country was determined, as was the correlation between COVID-19 deaths per 1 million population vs. the maximum number of patients with COVID-19 in the intensive care unit (ICU). What was noteworthy was that none of the 8 hospitals reduced emergency room (ER) activity even at the peak of the pandemic although treatment of patients without COVID-19 decreased by 0-70% depending on the extent of the epidemic. Although various measures are being actively implemented to slow the spread of the virus and reduce the strain on the health care system, the reality is that there are still a significant number of hospitals at risk of being overloaded in the event of a future surge in cases.