The US could see coronavirus related deaths skyrocket “well into the multiple hundreds of thousands” if there is not a course correction, according to a warning from the Association of American Medical Colleges.
“We’re not on a good path at present,” AAMC chief scientific officer Dr. Ross McKinney Jr. told CNN’s Brianna Keilar.
McKinney also said that the crisis is putting a strain on hospitals, especially those in virus hotspots like Arizona, Florida and Texas.
“The crisis is terrible for hospitals. We’re hearing, some of our hospitals in areas like southern Florida, that in fact, they’re full, but their staff is getting sick. As their staff gets sick, there’s nobody there to be able to fill in. So, people are having to work extraordinarily long hours and as you get more tired you end up taking more risks, just because you make mistakes. So we are really, pushing at the limits of what are health system can deliver… We are really hitting at the limit and as disease hits the staff it’s becoming even more of a crisis than it already was,” he said.
The AAMC is calling for an increase in critical supplies, as well as improving testing, reopening schools safely, expanding health insurance and developing a vaccination distribution protocol.
The association is urging the Trump administration to invoke the Defense Production Act to address supply shortages.
“Essentially everywhere is short of the critical supplies and we as a country have not attempted, systematically, to upgrade our production of either PPE or of the supplies that are needed by the laboratories in order to meet the demands we have for testing. The demands we have for PPE,” McKinney said.
McKinney added, that the AAMC is calling for national standards for local stay-at-home orders and reopening protocols.
Each city or state “don’t necessarily have to have the same degree of lockdown, but they should use the same criteria to try and move from one phase to the next, so that we can learn what are the best standards to use, so we don’t get these continuous waves of infection,” he said.
With reporting from CNN’s Jason Hanna, Madeline Holcombe and Shelby Lin Erdman
Watch the full interview here: