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Not enough ventilators. All the doctors and nurses are sick. Not enough hospital beds. A modest, but serious, proposal by Conrad

2020-03-18

(cartoon courtesy of pixabay)

Let’s start with a federal “shelter in place” order– get serious, people.  Voluntary, at first.  If not working, make it mandatory (by then the scale of the pandemic will have become obvious.)

50,000 ventilators at $50K apiece is $2.5 billion– peanuts to the US government.  Surely they would offer a quantity discount for such a large order?  Add another $500 million for training.  After it’s over, put them in mothballs for the next time.  It won’t be long before we need them again.
The states simply cannot do this kind of thing when they are required to balance their budgets every year.  The US government is uniquely positioned to get in front of this pandemic and order the equipment.  For staff, you add all the doctors and nurses in school right now, plus recruit laid-off baristas to do the grunt work like emptying bedpans.

There are also many retired medical people (like me) who could be coaxed back to work by offering free malpractice insurance and other goodies, like a Good Samaritan clause.  A lot of them are older (I’m 65) but some could still be recruited.

What’s wrong with this back-of-the-envelope calculation?  Oh, too forward-looking.  Never mind.

(Enlarged from a post to the comments line from an article about the ventilator shortage in the Washington Post.)

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