I was talking to a health care worker the other day, and they mentioned that they have several types of machines to do COVID tests in the hospital. The one machine they started with has been running pretty much 24 x 7 since March. It recently broke, and the hospital won’t get a replacement until September- maybe longer. The replacement machine they were supposed to get this month, to replace the broken one, is instead being deployed elsewhere where the need is more acute.
One thing we haven’t discussed enough is how long things like testing machines run before they break down? How long can the people in charge of testing go, before they need a break or need to be replaced?
The failure of putting the defense production act into effect early means there will still be supply chain problems of testing supplies, especially as other hot spots pop up. And thinking ahead, if the Fall brings another surge, will the testing equipment and supplies be in place at that time to meet the surge, or will it come down to choosing what location has the most acute need?
In the case of rationing, we know that will likely mean people will be undiagnosed, cases untraced, and more people will be infected. We’re starting to see PPE for medical professionals run low again-because when everyone gets sick at once, they can’t maintain supplies of both human and PPE capital required.
There are also worries about what will happen with the Fall flu season. In some ways, I am hoping that if we keep up good masking and social distancing habits, the flu season should be milder than ever before- people will be keeping their low-level infections to themselves, keep up better sanitation and hand-washing practices, and all of this can help prevent the flu as well as COVID 19.
But as we see cases spoking in communities like The Villages in Florida, it’s clear that our government’s failure of planning and ability to manage the worst will leave us in a precarious position- along with the rest of the world, might I add- for the forseeable future.