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Wuhan Coronavirus Lockdowns Continue to Decimate U.S. Healthcare System

Wuhan Coronavirus Lockdowns Continue to Decimate U.S. Healthcare System

“The breathtaking downturn underscores that the health-care sector is not only crucial to saving lives, but also vital to an economic recovery”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzNHBYwHi4k

Last month, I wrote about how the cancellation of “elective” surgeries, cancer screenings, and other important and often life-saving healthcare services is impacting the U.S. healthcare system.

The trend has continued downward since then, with more healthcare professionals losing their jobs, their practices, and their livelihoods.  Additionally, the harmful impact on their now-former patients is, at this point, immeasurable.

Across the nation, medical facilities are working on skeleton staffs or being shut down, often permanently due to the extension of no longer necessary lockdowns.

Examples, tragically, abound.  Here is but a recent sampling:

  • Pittsburgh Business Times:  “Survey: 1 in 10 Pennsylvania medical practices have closed in Covid-19 pandemic”
  • South Florida Business Journal:  “Mount Sinai cuts nearly 1,000 jobs due to Covid-19 losses”
  • CBS News:  “Thousands of physician assistants furloughed during coronavirus outbreak”
  • The San Francisco Chronicle:  “1 in 3 primary care doctors fears having to close practice over coronavirus”
  • The Texas Tribune:  “Texas doctors say their revenue has dropped by at least 50% since the pandemic, survey data shows”

Among those medical professionals particularly harmed by the lockdowns and orders that only “essential services” can be performed (i.e. those to save patients in imminent threat of death or those who are afflicted with Wuhan coronavirus), are eye and dental health care professionals.

In their article entitled, “Coronavirus threatens to permanently close doctors’ practices: ‘Uncertainty is overwhelming’,” the Washington Times reports:

Dr. Keesha Williams-Elliott had to cut her practice at her comprehensive eye care center in the District by 90% as part of a citywide shutdown on elective medical procedures during the coronavirus crisis.

Now on the verge of a reopening, the ophthalmologist worries about being able to resume business as usual.

“Until we get back to operating, my practice is going to suffer because we’re mainly a surgical practice,” Dr. Williams-Elliott said. “As things subside, my hope is that we can get elective care back on and have a backlog of patients that need surgery, cataract surgery and glaucoma surgery … and that we have a whole lot to do in a short period of time.”

Operators of dental offices, eye specialty centers, women’s health facilities and other “nonessential” medical services have had significant reductions in their workloads since stay-at-home orders were implemented two months ago.

NJ.com reports that some dental practices will never be able to reopen due to the financial toll of the lockdowns:

The financial toll has been devastating, said Dr. Tom Rossi, president of the New Jersey Dental Association, who suggested 20 percent — or about 1,200 — of the state’s dental practices may not reopen.

“The vast majority of dentists report their volume of total collections is less than 5 percent of what is typical,” said Rossi, citing American Dental Association research. “Modeling predicts that U.S. dental care spending could decline by up to 66% this year in 2020 and possibly 32% in 2021.”

“Most troubling is that dental economists are anticipating as many as 20% of the sector may close within one year as a result of this pandemic and the policies that may prohibit practitioners from operating,” he added.

The decimation of our healthcare system is likely to have a devastating impact on our economy.

The Washington Post reports:

Even as the coronavirus pandemic draws attention and resources to the nation’s doctors and hospitals, the health-care industry is suffering a historic collapse in business that is emerging as one of the most powerful forces hurting the U.S. economy and a threat to a potential recovery.

The widespread economic shutdown deployed to reduce transmission of the novel coronavirus hit hospitals and health-care providers with particular force as they prepared to face the pandemic.

. . . . The result was that health-care spending declined at an annualized rate of 18 percent in the first three months of the year, according to Commerce Department data released last week, the largest reduction since the government started keeping records in 1959.

And that proved the biggest factor in driving the annualized 4.8 percent decline in first-quarter gross domestic product, which itself was the worst overall contraction in GDP since the Great Recession.

. . . . The breathtaking downturn underscores that the health-care sector is not only crucial to saving lives, but also vital to an economic recovery.

Such widespread damage to our healthcare system may ultimately hamper our ability to respond to the Wuhan coronavirus itself.

An example of this was recently highlighted in the Seattle Times:

UW Medicine has been at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19 locally and globally, with an array of efforts that includes creating widely used outbreak models and processing a majority of Washington state’s diagnostic tests.

Its ability to sustain those efforts was thrown into question last week when CEO Dr. Paul Ramsey announced an unprecedented $500 million budget shortfall caused by the very pandemic the Seattle-based health system has been helping combat.

Among the ways Ramsey plans to make up for those losses: staff furloughs. On Monday, UW Medicine officials announced one- to eight-week furloughs for 1,500 professional and classified non-union staff, which includes management and administrative workers. UW Medicine has a workforce of about 30,000 people.

. . . . “The state’s economy and our ability to rebuild the economy is very tightly woven with the public health situation and people’s confidence about their safety,” Rolfes said . . . .

While the leftist elite, with its propensity for placing everything and everyone into neat and separate little baskets, likes to demonize any mention of the economy, we cannot be cowed by them for a moment longer.  Keeping the economy closed is affecting everything we, as Americans, hold dear: our healthcare system and freedoms are high on that list.

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Comments

“The decimation of our healthcare system is likely to have a devastating impact on our economy.”

It’s almost as if a feature, not a bug. No Obamacare required.

Dantzig93101 | May 21, 2020 at 8:27 pm

Economists are great at explaining the past but they’re terrible at predicting the future. I’m agnostic but hopeful about our economic recovery. We just won’t know until we know.

Shutting up the doomsayers and disempowering the saboteurs would be a good first step.

This is the biggest scam since ‘barack hussein obama’, or whoever he really is.

Total scam.

AG Barr-Boehner is still confused.

Is it possible the US death toll from the shutdown in medical care exceeds the death toll from C19? Overall, I’m pretty sure future historians will mark the total death rate bump and blame it all on C19 instead of the over-reaction.

    LibraryGryffon in reply to georgfelis. | May 21, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    If it doesnt yet, I’m sure by the end of the year it will.

    If my husband’s “elective” cardiac valve repair and bypass surgery just before Thanksgiving had been postponed indefinitely, I probably would have been a widow by New Year’s. And there are thousands more like that whose surgeries have been delayed until who knows when?

    And even if people dont die, there is significant damage to quality of life, some of which is irreparable.

The social contagion progressed faster than the virus. Fortunately, there are potential treatments, including the HCQ+AZ cocktail, to carry out Planned Pathogen (PP) that will reduce its viability, force its evolution, and disinfect people afflicted with the “burden” from Wuhan (formally known as SARS-CoV-2).

Single payer won’t help when there is no payee.

    jb4 in reply to tz. | May 21, 2020 at 10:42 pm

    Furthermore, leading European single-payer systems had much higher death rates than here.

UW Medicine officials announced one- to eight-week furloughs for 1,500 professional and classified non-union staff, which includes management and administrative workers.

Wow, that is serious. If, of course, it actually happens.

On the other hand,

UW Medicine has been at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19 locally and globally, with an array of efforts that includes creating widely used outbreak models

Crappy “outbreak models” are the cause of all these panicked shutdown orders. So maybe we’re all better off if those who inflict them on us just shut down themselves—and stay that way.

    txvet2 in reply to tom_swift. | May 21, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    One group that’s been furloughed is still on full pay – the bureaucrats. My driver’s license expired three weeks ago, and there’s no telling when I’ll be able to get it renewed. Sure, Abbott was nice enough to extend licenses for a couple of months after his slugs get back to work, but by then they’ll be having to process at least 5 months worth of “customers” in two months, in an office that’s jammed every day just from normal business.

As of yesterday a major hospital near me was treating 59 CD-19 patients but overall was at 50% capacity. They, their sister hospitals, and hospitals all over the region are practically begging people to visit since so many people are now fearful of going to the hospital even if their health is in immediate danger.

Just before this all started Maryland was looking into ways to triage ER patients differently because in some areas about 60% of patients arriving by ambulance weren’t high-priority cases. So they had started a limited experiment in some spots in which if someone arriving by ambulance was determined to not be a high-priority case that person would be sent to the waiting room, thus freeing up the ambulance crew to respond to other calls. CD-19 has rendered that experiment unnecessary for now.

henrybowman | May 21, 2020 at 10:14 pm

Just more evidence that not even the smartest man in the world can plan every aspect of an economy. And a reminder that our of all the governors and mayors in America, damn few of them even qualify as intellectually challenging.

Fuzzy,

Decimate used incorrectly is my pet peeve.

When a legion or cohort or other Roman formation was decimated the soldiers, sometimes centurions as well, were forcibly divided into ten man groups. These groups then pulled out a colored disk. If you pulled the off color the other nine men then killed you.

This was used almost exclusively as a tool to restore discipline in a unit which either broke and ran in the face of the enemy or deserted during one of the many power struggles of Rome.

Even ignoring that, it means taking away one of ten.

Off my soap box. Sorry, I can’t help it. That is one word that when improperly used makes me twitchy. That 8th grade English teacher made a Hell of an impact. It was one of his peeves.

    Mac45 in reply to CommoChief. | May 21, 2020 at 11:55 pm

    As with many words, in the Engliush language in the 21st century, decimate has miore than one definition. According to Merriam-Webster:

    Definition of decimate

    transitive verb
    1 : to select by lot and kill every tenth man of decimate a regiment
    2 : to exact a tax of 10 percent from poor
    3a : to reduce drastically especially in number
    b : to cause great destruction or harm to

      CommoChief in reply to Mac45. | May 22, 2020 at 11:44 am

      Mac45,

      You are free to misuse the word. I am red to call you out for doing so.

      As I stated, my 8th grade English teacher was a beast about the acceptable definition of words changing depending upon the whims of modernity. It creates confusion and lack of clarity.

      I submit that a particular word has a particular meaning. Perhaps in some cases the effects of a new or alternative meaning which doesn’t change the original meaning might be acceptable.

      In this case, decimated has a literal translation and meaning that limits it to ten percent. Not large or great or complete or huge nor any amount of loss greater than one in ten.

      You are of course, free to hold and a different opinion.

        txvet2 in reply to CommoChief. | May 22, 2020 at 12:22 pm

        I share your dismay at the continuing redefinition of words. Two of my pet peeves are “socialist” and “communist”, which seem to have been redefined to mean some sort of social welfare programs.

        Mac45 in reply to CommoChief. | May 22, 2020 at 3:13 pm

        Well, I gave you an accepted dictionary definition which is in wide spread use. So, I fail to see how I would be using the word incorrectly. As we no longer have roman legions not do we allow the practice of decimate [pronounced dek i matta (long a sound on the final vowel) in latin] I guess we can not use the word at all, can we? LOL.

          CommoChief in reply to Mac45. | May 23, 2020 at 4:23 pm

          Mac45,

          Nothing prevents you from, IMO, misusing the word.

          Likewise, nothing prevents me from pointing out that you have, IMO, done so.

          It’s still a, mostly, free country.

    LOL, I hate when people screw up “wont” and “forte,” so I get your soapbox. That said, my use is acceptable per every credible dictionary, including the OED. So, um, yeah, sticking with “decimate.” That said, I love your dedication to our language, but think it might be good to recognize that language evolves. Always has, always will (much to our disdain at times).

My doctor’s operation continues apace with a full staff, although there seem to be plenty of appointments available.

I really have little sympathy for members of the medical profession, especially physicians, who may be suffering from a slow down in medical business. The medical leadership of this country assisted the media and the political class to shutdown the economy and harm millions of people. Members of the medical profession could hav e stepped forward and strongly urged a much more cautious approach to addressing the virus. They did not. Too bad.

    MajorWood in reply to Mac45. | May 22, 2020 at 1:22 am

    I have been wondering if verbal gag orders were given to medical staff. Chief of Medicine tells Dept. Chairs to not say anything different than the “official version.” Chair then tell all of their subordinate attendings, who then instruct the residents and interns. The silence has been deafening. I fortunately answer to no one so my opinion on these matters has been spread far and wide. That my predictions from two months ago are proving to be spot on has given me a bit of street cred.

    Someone here put it very well the other day. They stated, basically, than when you know and area really well, and you watch the MSM get something completely wrong, then it is natural to assume that they are also getting everything else completely wrong. What bothers me is how people who should know better are simply willing to be lied to over and over without challenging anything.

    of course, I live in a metro area which just voted by 60% to impose a huge homeless tax to generate $250M a year (for 10 years) to fix the problem. My prediction, the homeless population in Portland will be twice what it is now at this time next year. You know, when San Francisco and Seattle think that your city is full of morons, well …

      ronk in reply to MajorWood. | May 22, 2020 at 3:48 am

      somewhere along the way you would think the democrats would learn, I don’t expect the people that vote for them to learn, damn most of the people that vote democrat probably don’t even know who they vote for, a lot probably don’t even know they voted. back to the main story, look at what happened to Seattle they tried the same thing, Amazon pulled out and move to one of the suburbs, and quietly moved their remaining operations out also. NYC lost out on a possible 25k jobs due to a really dumb politician. the states in the worst shutdown are blue, and the people leaving will turn from heavy to huge numbers. slightly off track but not by much, how much would you like to wager that if biden wins and another wuhan type virus shows up the lockdowns will not happen.

      sorry for the rambling

      Mac45 in reply to MajorWood. | May 22, 2020 at 11:56 am

      Let me enlighten you about journalists.

      As a group, journalists are one of the least well informed of any profession in the world. Constantly reporting upon a myriad of topics, you would expect them to be well-informed generalists. However, it turns out that they are not very well-informed at all. Most journalists have become nothing more than copy writers. They create a story, then cherry pick facts and present them in such a way as to make the story attractive or compelling to readers. Accuracy in reporting is far down their list of concerns.

        Milhouse in reply to Mac45. | May 22, 2020 at 4:45 pm

        Yes, this is exactly right. Back before they called themselves “journalists” and fancied themselves professionals, when they were simply reporters and not ashamed to be tradesmen, they were no more honest than now, but they were competent. They might lie, but first they found out the truth so they’d know what to lie about.

Great excuse for Govt to take over all health care. A new emergency giving Governors unlimited power. Plus the coming climate emergency they will declare relying on the current precedents.

Medical providers are also asking for protection from tort liability arising from Govt delays.

That will be the next unintended consequence. A flood of law suits of every type. Who knows what other disastrous unintended consequences lie in wait.

This will be studied by historians for millennia. How a prosperous civilization self destructed.

Farquaad Fauci and his pals at the CDC are morons. They need to be taken out back and shot.

Decimation is exactly as planned. Watch for single-payer to be floated as the way to fix this “problem”.

I just came from an elective surgery…
Thank goodness they let me through.
I was the only guy in two different waiting rooms yesterday.

BierceAmbrose | May 22, 2020 at 8:25 pm

Will the folks in the Health Care System figure out that this is what you get when you let the govt run things by decree?

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