The inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services issued a report on Monday that paints a dismal picture of the response to the coronavirus. The findings are from the period of March 23 to March 27, when hospital admissions and deaths were much lower than they are today.In short, the health-care system is fraying: “Hospitals reported that their most significant challenges centered on testing and caring for patients with known or suspected COVID-19 and keeping staff safe,” the report states. “Hospitals also reported substantial challenges maintaining or expanding their facilities’ capacity to treat patients with COVID-19.” In addition: “Hospitals described specific challenges, mitigation strategies, and needs for assistance related to personal protective equipment (PPE), testing, staffing, supplies and durable equipment; maintaining or expanding facility capacity; and financial concerns.”“Substantial challenges” is government-ese for “mess.” In particular, the report documents “severe shortages of testing supplies and extended waits for test results limited hospitals’ ability to monitor the health of patients and staff.” There are also “widespread shortages” of protective equipment such masks and gowns, inadequate staff, shortages in hospital capacity and shortages of hospital equipment. That includes not just ventilators but also basic supplies such as “intravenous therapy (IV)


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