‘Hospitals are filling up’: The U.S. surgeon general warns a surge in viral illnesses is pushing medical facilities to the brink—and tells Americans how to stay safe – By Erin Prater (Fortune) / Dec 2, 2022
Respiratory illnesses like COVID, RSV, and the flu are pushing U.S. hospitals to the brink this fall, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said this week, as he urged Americans to take precautions against all viruses.
“Hospitals are filling up, children’s hospitals in particular,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America.
This fall, pediatric hospitals are brimming with an unusually high number of patients who are sick from several different viruses—predominantly RSV, flu, and COVID, but also influenza-like viruses like rhinovirus and enterovirus. As a result of this “tripledemic,” many hospitals are at or near capacity. Some are far beyond it, having made room for patient overflow in offices, gift shops, play areas, and parking-lot tents.
But adult hospitals are also struggling owing to the surge in respiratory illnesses. Federal health officials stand ready to deploy troops and FEMA personnel, and supplies like ventilators from the Strategic National Stockpile, they said in November, as they announced that the U.S. had officially reached epidemic levels of the flu.