Although the coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S. in two weeks, many states will see their individual peaks well after that, according to a model by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Why it matters: States like Virginia and Maryland have more time to prepare for their systems to be maximally strained — if they make good use of that time.
States' coronavirus peaks are defined as the point at which there is the most demand for resources, namely hospital beds and ventilators.
- This is also the point at which the most health care workers will be needed to care for coronavirus patients.
Some experts warn that states expected to face the hardest hit later in the year aren't using their lead time well.
- "The states that are going to be affected last need to start husbanding resources now, because the feds could get tapped out ... by some of these early states, particularly New York, which has absorbed a lot of federal resources," former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told me.
- Even though they may not be seeing a huge number of cases now, states like Texas and Florida should stop doing elective surgeries now in order to preserve personal protective equipment — like masks, gowns and gloves — for their health care workers, Gottlieb added.
The bottom line: Coronavirus outbreaks, both globally and in the U.S., have seemed manageable until it's too late. For states that so far aren't hit hard, there's no such thing as over-preparing.
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