In a New York Times article and several national interviews, Aaron Carroll, M.D., Regenstrief Institute vice president for faculty development and a nationally recognized health expert, expressed his concern about the potential for the coronavirus (COVID-19) to overwhelm the U.S. healthcare system if action is not taken to slow its spread.
“As a medical doctor who analyzes health issues for The Upshot, I strive to place your fears in context and usually tell you that you shouldn’t be nearly as afraid as you are. But when it comes to the nation’s response to the new coronavirus, I cannot be so reassuring,” he wrote in the NY Times column. He also was interviewed by MSNBC and his concern appeared in Vox.
Dr. Carroll, who is also a vice chair, associate dean and professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, routinely dispels medical myths and translates medical research for the everyday person.
Dr. Carroll explained that it’s not the number of people who get sick, it’s the number of people who are sick at the same time. He said the U.S. healthcare system has a finite number of beds and equipment. The number of illnesses from a pandemic could quickly put facilities over capacity and overwhelm the system.
However, he said if Americans engage is social distancing, proper quarantining and proper hygiene, the rate of virus spread can be slowed. That would allow healthcare workers enough resources to properly care for everyone and would buy time for a vaccine.