HHS watchdog finds severe hospital shortages in combating covid-19

A federal watchdog is corroborating warnings by governors and front-line health-care workers that hospitals’ ability to combat the coronavirus pandemic is being impeded by shortages of tests, protective gear, staff and space, as well as inconsistent government advice.

Some hospitals are so desperate for protective masks that they are scrounging them from auto-body shops and nail salons, according to a report by the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. At least one hospital is making its own hand sanitizer by mixing gel used for ultrasounds with alcohol from a nearby distillery, the report said.

The report is the first public federal critique of the capacity of the nation’s hospitals to cope with the flood of infected patients in coronavirus hot spots — an inundation likely to arrive elsewhere soon. In substantiating complaints about inadequate equipment, it essentially counters assertions by President Trump that hospitals and state officials advocating for them are being greedy.

The Washington Post