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llustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Hospitals have been clearing beds to care for the influx of coronavirus patients, but there's a looming capacity and equipment problem for the vast majority of patients who recover and need to be discharged to another facility.

Reality check: "I don't know that there's a nursing home in the country right now that is really able to admit an individual who is COVID-19-positive," said David Grabowski, a Harvard professor who studies post-acute care.

The big picture: Millions of people with chronic health conditions get care through home health agencies, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and long-term hospitals.

  • A flood of coronavirus patients who need extra care in these places after a hospital stay would put a strain on the system.
  • Many nursing homes, which have poor track records with infection control, will be in the spotlight after the federal government relaxed regulations for how quickly they could admit patients from hospitals.
  • Nursing homes also are especially vulnerable places for the disease to spread and kill: The epicenter of the U.S. outbreak was a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington.

What's next: Grabowski and many other post-acute experts are warning that precautions must be taken.

  • Every patient who is discharged from a hospital to another care facility, regardless if they had COVID-19, should get tested for COVID-19.
  • Low-income workers at these facilities will need more paid sick leave, and they will need more protective gear to prevent the spread.
  • States should create specialized post-hospital facilities that only house COVID-19 patients to keep the risk of spread lower — something that Connecticut and Massachusetts are already doing.

The bottom line: Hospitals have invested a lot of time and resources into freeing up beds, expanding intensive care units and acquiring ventilators. The same thinking should apply for care that's needed after the hospital.

Go deeper

6 hours ago - World

Over 170 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem

An injured man is carried away as Israeli security forces clash with Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

At least 178 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem, Reuters reported late Friday.

The big picture: The clashes come amid growing anger over the threatened eviction of Palestinians from their homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. Tensions have also escalated in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low — Majority back vaccine proof requirements for travel, schools and work — The race to avoid a possible "monster" COVID variant.
  2. Politics: Oklahoma secures $2.6 million refund for hydroxychloroquine purchase — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations — Americans' return to the skies could benefit smaller airlines.
  5. World: WHO authorizes China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use — Mixed response in Europe to Biden's vaccine patents bombshell.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Ohio GOP censures Rep. Anthony Gonzalez over Trump impeachment vote

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Ohio Republican Party on Friday censured Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) and called for him to resign for voting to impeach former President Trump in January, Reuters reports.

The big picture: Gonzalez is the latest Republican lawmaker to be punished for voting to impeach the former president on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection.