While remotely testifying before the Senate last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, warned of the consequences of reopening U.S. states too quickly. He said that "there is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you might not be able to control. Not only leading to some suffering and death, but it could even set you back on the road to get economic recovery". When Fauci spoke, approximately 80,000 Americans had died due to the pandemic and that figure is now at about 90,000. Fauci also said he believes the true death toll is higher than the official figures.
If his warnings do indeed come to pass and the slew of reopenings results in the U.S. losing control of the coronavirus, hospitals could quickly find themselves overwhelmed in a manner similar to Spain, Italy and New York over the past few weeks. Bearing that in mind, which states have the most extensive critical care infrastructure? The Kaiser Family Foundation published data focusing on health care provider capacity which provides an interesting list of the number of ICU beds in U.S. states.
Altogether, the U.S. had 85,247 coronary, trauma, surgical, burn, and general ICU bedsin community and non-Federal hospitals in 2018 equating to 2.7 ICU beds per 10,000 of the population. Alabama has the most ICU beds per 10,000 inhabitants with 3.9, followed by North Dakota's 3.8. Vermont and Hawaii are at the opposite end of the scale with the lowest ICU bed capacity in the country with 1.8 per 10,000 inhabitants. As the reopening process gains traction, a recent Morning Consult poll found that half of voters feel the U.S. is moving too quickly to reopen the economy.