This story is already so old. Hospital workers in red states are exhausted and pissed about the unnecessary surge of unvaccinated COVID patients. They are clogging up hospital systems and "maddening" people with what's euphemistically described as "non-emergency surgeries." For someone living in pain, being placed outside the "life-threatening" circle is hardly soothing.
Nicole Blanchard of the The Idaho Statesman offers this heartbreaking description of the state of affairs in that state:
"I had a patient yesterday who had been waiting months for her total knee replacement, preparing for it, doing exercises to prepare for getting medically stabilized for it, and (her surgery is) going to get canceled,” [Dr. Laura McGeorge, a physician at St. Luke’s in Boise] said in a video interview earlier this month.
But this article, like so many others, frames the crisis within the limits of the manageable by stating: "Idaho’s latest pandemic surge has placed a huge strain on the state’s hospitals." A huge strain? Everyone keeps calling this situation, which is beyond critical, a "strain." From Alaska Public Media: "Hospital workers have continued to sound the alarm about the unrelenting surge of COVID-19, driven by the delta variant, straining capacity." This kind of language is not helping at all. These and other systems are not experiencing a strain but a collapse. They no longer work.
Everyone should read this urgent, blunt and excruciatingly important warning:
The health care system has collapsed.
Not *is almost* collapsing. Not *is on the brink of.*
Nonfunctional. Collapsed. Done.https://t.co/AcOWfAKaBn
— Maryn McKenna (@marynmck) September 7, 2021
Now we are talking.
And the collapse of one system is collapsing others—a point made in a New York Times article that dropped on Monday, "‘Their Crisis’ Is ‘Our Problem’: Washington Grapples With Idaho Covid Cases." And, by the look of things, this point has rattled Seattle's mainstream media. Even the right-wing MyNorthwest, which has consistently championed the freedom to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, particularly when it comes to cops, expressed alarm in this headline: "Idaho’s medical crisis is ‘becoming our problem’ in Washington". But it's not just Idaho. It is also red Washington that's driving our health system, as a whole, to the brink of total collapse. The fact that a hospital in Yakima is struggling to obtain oxygen for COVID beds shows its system is not stressed or strained but no longer functional.
Let's have a quick look at the situation in King County at this moment. We are, it seems, in a situation that can be described as "stressed". 12% of our hospital beds are occupied by COVID patients, which is nearly 2% higher than the target and close to the highest percentage reached during the course of the too-long pandemic (nearly 13%). But 10% is already really high (it should be below 2%). A few percentage points more, and our system will transition from the illusion of a stress zone to the reality of a danger zone. At that point, which is not far off, our bubble (as articulated by our Mayor in a recent tweet: "Seattle has had the lowest cases, hospitalizations & deaths of major American cities") bursts.
Today we marked 1m free COVID tests at City & @UWMedicine sites! Seattle has had the lowest cases, hospitalizations & deaths of major American cities in large part because we led nation in launching free testing program. If you feel symptoms, get tested. https://t.co/m1qHnx3l6D
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) September 14, 2021
All of these tests and vaccinations will mean little or nothing. You will pray to a have death panel to keep beds free for the vaccinated, or to not have a serious medical condition that's considered not "life threatening." Expect this development during the COVID's predictable winter surge.
Vishal Khetpal on Slate:
To say that we’re on the brink of disaster offers hope that the people in charge can take steps to keep us from plunging toward an abyss. It suggests that the situation is at least temporarily sustainable, that maybe you can keep hunkering down and doing what you’ve been doing, and everything will be fine. But it is not sustainable, and it is not fine. The health care system is not approaching some kind of cliff, while still functioning... People who do not have to die are dying.