2. What we can learn from Italy
The coronavirus outbreak in Italy has gotten so bad so quickly that some doctors are now forced to practice "catastrophe medicine" — determining which severely ill patients should, and should not, get care based on the resources available.
Between the lines: The U.S. is not at that point — but a week ago, neither was Italy, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
- The rapid deterioration there underlines the importance of taking preventive measures seriously, and the need for political and health leaders to start thinking about hard ethical questions.
Where it stands: The rapid spread has forced Italian leaders to quarantine the entire country and close all shops except for pharmacies and grocery stores. The Italian health care system, which many experts hold in high regard, is overworked.
What's next: There are several theories as to why cases exploded so dramatically in Italy, but the answers aren't clear right now. In the meantime, experts say the biggest lesson for Americans is that trying to limit the virus' spread — mainly by limiting contact with potentially infected people — really is important.
Yes, but: The U.S. has no national plan for how to ration care if intensive care units and ventilators are all in use.
The bottom line: Shutting down schools, closing cultural spots, suspending sports and staying at home will upend people's lives in the short term, and hypothesizing who should get lifesaving care is an ethical nightmare.