Unexpected Consequence of COVID-19 Crisis: Empty Emergency Rooms
An anxious ER nurse in Los Angeles took to Facebook recently to ask whether any of her colleagues nationwide were experiencing layoffs because hospital emergency rooms are virtually empty — one of the most surprising unintended consequences of the coronavirus crisis.
“This doesn’t seem to be talked about at all… People are losing their shifts and paychecks and jobs,” the L.A. nurse wrote. “We only had 5 people in the whole ER when they sent me home. My agency sent out an email blast basically saying that there are a lot of people struggling to find shifts.
“So, I’m curious if any other nurses are experiencing this?”
The response to her post was overwhelming. . . .
News of nearly-empty emergency rooms may come as a surprise to most Americans amid media reports of a national healthcare system pushed to the brink. The reason, as counterintuitive as it may seem, is the coronavirus itself.
First, COVID-19 cases are immediately secured elsewhere in the hospital without entering the ER, segregating the infected patients from the hospital population. At the same time, fears of the virus are discouraging some people who might otherwise go to the ER for a relatively minor medical issue to stay home. Studies show that many Americans, including more than half of Millennials, use ERs or emergency care facilities for non-emergency care. . . .