Handling Crises

COVID continues to surge around the world, including areas of the world that seemed previously to have contained it.

I’m curious – at least out here in California – why I’ve not heard any mention of expanding ICU bed capacity? China famously put together entire COVID hospitals in record time early on in the COVID crisis, drawing undoubtedly on experience with other outbreaks of SARS viruses since 2000. And granted, there are massive differences between what a totalitarian regime can dictate done in record time and what a democratic country can reasonably accomplish. Not to mention differences in building safety and any number of other issues. The first article referenced above talks about shipping containers being repurposed for ICU beds. It wouldn’t have to be building new buildings from scrath.

Considering the idle real estate scattered around the country and owned by various levels of government organizations, from school districts to the National Guard, it would seem we could spend money to actually expand our capacity to cope with increasing rates of COVID hospitalizations, enabling us to ease the economic disaster foisted on small and mid-sized businesses who can’t operate at anything near full capacity due to state restrictions.

By repurposing – even temporarily – properties already owned by cities, counties, states, etc. it seems as though we could expand ICU bed capacity at least in the major metropolitan areas that are hardest hit. We’re undoubtedly spending a lot of money already, what if some of it could be directed in this way?

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