This the first of a new on-going series of micro-articles tackling the prevailing, media-generated talking points of on Sars-Cov2 and Covid19.
Those of you who have spent any time debating or discussing the current coronavirus “pandemic” on social media will almost certainly have encountered an argument that goes something like this:
“Coronavirus is nothing like the flu, the seasonal flu doesn’t overwhelm health services like this.”
But is this true? We’ve done some research.
California hospitals were “war zones” where people were treated in hastily erected tents.
The same year ICUs in Milan were “totally overrun” with flu cases.
In December of 2019 the NHS had to implement “emergency temporary beds” in 52% of its hospitals to account for their regular “winter crisis”. Most of those hospitals still had temporary beds operating from the previous winter.
Last November experts were publishing reports warning that the NHS was under too much pressure to deal with the seasonal flu.
The 2009 Swine Flu pandemic turned out to be no worse than a bad flu season in the end, but nevertheless had a huge impact on hospitals across the United States.
[UPDATE 3/4/18 – Our readers have done their usual stellar job and sent in some great examples.]
In Spain, flu collapses hospitals almost every year.
In 2017 the Spanish-language Huffington Post site asked “Why does the flu mean collapse in Spanish hospitals?”.
In the 2017/18 flu season, hospitals all over the country were in a state of collapse.
Last March, hospitals were at over 200% patient capacity.
In 2015 patients were sleeping in corridors.
Even in January this year, before the coronavirus had impacted Europe, nurses were complaining that the flu season was stretching healthcare to breaking point.
A paper in the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) states that Lombardy’s ICUs “typically run at 85-90% capacity in the winter months”.
Going by just the last couple of years, the evidence suggests flu severely impacts health services quite frequently.
Raising the question: How does the current state of ICUs compare with these other recent crises? To which, we must remember, no one ever suggested the solution was destroying the economy and instituting a police state.
Are you aware of any other examples of recent health-care crises? Post them in the comments below, or drop us an email, and we’ll add them to our list. Likewise, if you have a common misconception on the coronavirus you’d like to see refuted, suggest it and we may include it in our series.
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