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America has spent billions on ventilators, but it will not save critically ill COVID-19 patients

Photograph: Axel Heimken/AFP via Getty Images

With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping its shores earlier this year, the US government in April announced about $ 3 billion of ventilator orders for the National Reserve, with the goal of saving suffering Americans. Acute respiratory diseases caused by disease.

But of the 140,000 devices, the government has since added to the US National Strategic Reserve, nearly half were essential respiratory devices that did not meet what medical professionals say is the minimum requirements for ventilators needed for treatment. Acute respiratory distress syndrome, the main cause. Death rates among COVID-19 patients, according to a Reuters review of publicly available device specifications and interviews with clinicians and industry executives.

Only about 10% of complete intensive care unit (ICU) ventilators are the type that doctors and ventilator specialists say they would typically use to intubate patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, a Reuters review. The remainder, or about 40%, are transportation ventilators that are typically used for shorter periods but are considered advanced enough to be used long enough to recover from ARDS patients.


2 December 2020


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