Officially at day 308 of 15 Days To Slow The Spread Campaign, which began March 17, 2020. It’s time to revisit the concept of “overwhelming our health care system”. We all understand that in health care there are times when hospitals find themselves with excessive caseloads, necessitating moving or diverting patients or arranging transfer of care to overflow facilities. Alternately there are times when facilities have very low caseloads. If not managed appropriately, the quality of care will degrade under such stresses. The concept was reasonable, if we could just get everyone to chip in for a couple of weeks, we could thwart the devastating pandemic by reducing the onslaught of cases to a more manageable level, allowing the need for hospital staff and equipment to be spread over a longer period so people aren’t dying in the hallways, right? First, let us consider: According to available data from the 1970s through about 2017, typical range of hospital occupancy rates (all bed) averaged around 65%-73%. It was at it’s highest during 1975-1980, averaging 77%-78% occupancy. Current nationwide occupancy of hospital ICU beds is 72%-73% (November 2020) which appears to be close to average. No wonder the field hospitals that were set up seemed to be quietly dismantled. Listen to this broadcast to hear more about this data.
Upon reviewing the evidence, while it does appear that there were isolated areas that experienced significant overload, most of the country never saw it. In fact, when the City of Rolla passed the Mask Mandate in November 2020, the City argued that our health system was becoming overwhelmed with 16 hospitalized Covid patients in a 242 bed facility. So why did we pass such absurd regulations? $1000 per offense fine for wearing a mask, or standing too close? Lose your business license? Should the corporations that produce the largest tax revenue issue policies for the community? Or should they focus their efforts on managing their own business, like the rest of us do?