Yes, but think of it this way: When you take your mom to brunch at her favorite restaurant for Mother’s Day -- the busiest restaurant day of the year -- the place is humming. Every seat is full, every cook and server are working, and the kitchen is stocked with everything the chef might need. But if you show up at the restaurant on a random Tuesday and you happen to be behind a group of 20 tourists, the service might be slower and the kitchen might run short on your favorite dish, even though the restaurant is only 85 percent full. That’s because restaurants can’t afford to schedule their staff like every day is the busiest day of the year. If they did, they’d go out of business.
Right now, hospitals are operating like every day IS the busiest day of the year, and every day gets worse and worse. Plus, ICUs can’t fill every single bed. They have to keep a number open for emergencies like traumas or heart attacks -- patients who don’t have time to wait for a bed to become available.
It takes two answers to cover this one.
- First, don’t delay if you have an urgent medical problem. Emergency rooms around the country are seeing patients who put off treatment because of the virus. Hospitals are admitting patients with severely infected wounds and damage from delayed treatment for heart attacks or strokes. That can have devastating consequences.
- Second, we should all do everything we can so that if we are one of the unlucky ones who need advanced medical care, we get the care we need, when we need it most.