WASHINGTON (AP) — Three out of four U.S. hospitals surveyed are already treating patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, according to a federal report that finds hospitals expect to be overwhelmed as cases rocket toward their projected peak.
A report Monday from a federal watchdog agency warns that different, widely reported problems are feeding off each other in a vicious cycle. Such problems include insufficient tests, slow results, scarcity of protective gear, the shortage of breathing machines for seriously ill patients and burned-out staffs anxious for their own safety.
“There’s this sort of domino effect,” said Ann Maxwell, an assistant inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services. “These challenges play off each other and exacerbate the situation. There’s a cascade effect.”