All COVID

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April 3, 2020 2:36 p.m.

In Governor Cuomo’s press conference today he mentioned that the new facilities at the Javits Center (the big mega expo and conference center in midtown) is being transitioned to being another COVID hospital. Originally it was going to be a non-COVID facility to take stress off the hospitals. The Navy has also loosened the restrictions that had kept almost all patients off the USNS Comfort. What was most striking though is that Cuomo said that there just aren’t many non-COVID patients in the city. The plan was that these new facilities would take other acute needs off the existing hospital system’s hands. But there aren’t that many.

Certainly he must not have literally meant that. People have heart attacks; they slip and fall. But his point was that numerous other sorts of hospital visits are down. Car accidents and pedestrians getting hit by cars have dropped dramatically. Crime has also fallen dramatically, according to the Governor. Which means many fewer trauma cases.

What he didn’t mention but likely many of you have thought about is this: many people who probably do need medical care aren’t seeking it. Some of this is trying to keep stress off the hospital system. But a lot is that people don’t want to go to emergency rooms and get infected. I heard of one case a few days ago of a man who appeared to be having signs that would send a lot of people to the hospital fearing a cardiac crisis. This person didn’t go to the hospital and then died.

That’s an anecdote of course. Who knows? I know a teenager who had a serious but non-life threatening facial injury. Again, didn’t go to the hospital. It was handled by family friends who are doctors at home. So a lot of injuries and sources of trauma aren’t happening. Many are not seeking medical care, even some people who definitely should. By and large every hospital, especially in New York City, are now effectively COVID ICU wards.

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