Alaska Turns to Rationing Care

Even as the US is seeing signs of the latest wave cresting, COVID-19 has a way of brutally reminding Americans it remains a dangerous threat to life.

  • The pandemic has now claimed more than 700,000 US lives, AP reports. The country went from 600,000 dead to 700,000 in 3-1/2 months.

 
Zooming in on Alaska: Over the weekend, doctors in 20 health care facilities in the state shifted to crisis protocols that allow them to ration care, Slate reports.
 

  • With just 58% of Alaskans fully vaccinated (US average is 65%) and no mandate on masks, Alaska’s hospitals and ICUs are overflowing.
  • Alaska ranks 47 of 50 states in the number of ICU beds as a proportion of its population.
  • Compared with other states, Alaska faces difficult options for transferring patients to out-of-state hospitals.


The Quote: “Right now, we have five times the national average in cases, which reflects in our hospitalizations,” state health official Heidi Hedberg told the Anchorage Daily News, “but we have one of the most limited health care systems.”

  
Related:
 
In Alaska’s Covid Crisis, Doctors Must Decide Who Lives and Who Dies – The New York Times
 
Health workers know what good care is. Pandemic burnout is getting in the way – NPR Shots

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