In the “bullsh$t of the day” segment brought to you by the mainstream media: “US hospitals are running out of beds.” The message is clear:
If you are ill, don’t even bother coming to a hospital.
There are no beds. You will wait for hours. All doctors and nurses are swamped.
PREPARE TO DIE!
The panic is deafening. The hysteria is raging.
Now take a deep breath, turn off CNN and join us in the real world.
Here is a bang-up projection tool brought to you by American Hospital Association. It tells you the expected (as of September 2nd) hospital bed utilization for September 9th, 2021. Only 73% of hospital beds were expected to be occupied as of today. Looking at individual states, except for Georgia (not Florida!) which was the only state with expected hospital bed utilization over 100%, there was plenty of hospital beds expected to be available – quite contrary to what the mainstream media told you a week ago.
The question mainstream media thought you’d never ask is: what was the normal, pre-Covid, hospital bed utilization? Here is Statista graph that was classified by CNN.
Before Covid, normal hospital bed capacity was about 65%. Remember, today it is 73%, which is not very much out of the ordinary. In the 70s and 80s, hospitals were running at close to 80% capacity. Today, almost every state is operating at normal capacity. The situation may vary from one hospital to another, but as a general rule, every state is handling the Delta variant without a glitch. When you are watching hysterical reports “from the trenches”, remember that every “hospital running out of beds” is an exception – not a rule.
Here is a neat HHS Hospital utilization tool (classified by CNN) that allows you to track hospital / ICU bed utilization in the country, and by state.
Compare the previous, projected, data, to the actual hospital bed utilization today. Total hospital bed utilization is a little over 77%. The projected data was 73% – not bad.
Only 13% of all hospital beds are occupied by Covid patients. No matter what CNN tells you, there are no stretchers filled with Covid patients, lining up for miles, in most US hospitals.
This graph by Johns Hopkins University, in many colors, so that even Brian Stelter can understand, shows that there are plenty of unoccupied ICU beds available. Most ICU beds are occupied by non-Covid patients, which means that contrary to the media narrative, the Delta variant does not contribute to ICU hospital bed utilization significantly.
Let’s go to Florida which, if you are following mainstream media, you know as “the state of the walking dead.”
Here is Florida hospital bed utilization, as reported by HHS. If you remember, the number for the country is 77%. In Florida, it’s 83%. While the number is higher, it hardly justifies the hysterical media coverage Florida is getting. One must factor in Florida’s large elderly population as well. You can use the HHS tool to lookup several states (such as Nevada and New York) where hospital bed utilization is close to 80%.
One more aspect to consider.
The media willfully chooses to report hospital bed shortages without proper context. Before Covid- 19 the country was in the grips of medical staffing shortages. Nursing staff, in particular, read here and here. And of course, a physician staffing shortage too, read here and here. These shortages play out down the line including Respiratory Techs, Phlebotomists, Nursing Aids, and the rest.
The implementation of the ACA ( Obamacare) resulted in many nurses and doctors leaving the profession to avoid government dictating standards of care. But more recently the forced economic shutdowns early in 2020 coupled with many choosing to put off elective surgical procedures created a ghost town within many medical facilities across the country. Yes, in the height of Covid 2020 many hospitals were practically empty and had to furlough or lay off staffing.
So when reporting on the number of beds available the context needed is how many beds were staffed in the facility, to begin with. All moderately sized hospitals have a breakdown plan which means the capability to break down a Med-Surg unit to create extended ICU beds. The issue is the staffing to do so.
This data was brought to you by the Right Wire Report where we always follow the science.
If you prefer to follow liberal media outlets, stay tuned for the next week’s “bullsh$t of the day:” “Joe Biden defeats Covid by mandating Taliban to get all their terrorists vaccinated, or face the new US invasion.”