Coronavirus: Scientists describe how and where to allocate stockpiled ventilators during a pandemic

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March 22, 2020 2:31 PM

Researchers have described the key factors to be taken into account for the allocation of scarce ventilators during a pandemic like the currently spreading COVID-19 disease which causes severe respiratory illness. 

How to keep investments safe during CoronaviursVentilators will be pivotal to saving countless lives in this COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers have described the key factors to be taken into account for the allocation of scarce ventilators during a pandemic like the currently spreading COVID-19 disease which causes severe respiratory illness. According to the researchers, including those from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prior to a pandemic, planners should determine existing inventories and the ability of facilities to make use of additional ventilators in the event of a public health emergency.

They said this information needs to be updated at the time of a pandemic. Strategies to help state and local planners in allocating stockpiled ventilators to healthcare facilities during the pandemic are detailed in a study published in the journal Health Security. Allocation of these scarce life-saving resources during a pandemic should consider ethical principles to inform state and local plans for allocation of ventilators, according to the study.

The scientists noted that decisions should be based on an assessment of need, determination of the ability of hospitals to use additional ventilators, and their capacity to ensure access to ventilators for vulnerable or high-risk populations that may be more susceptible to the disease. “Having strategies for allocating scarce resources like ventilators in advance may improve decision making, with the understanding that plans will need to adapt to the realities presented during a pandemic response,” the researchers wrote in the study.

“Ventilators will be pivotal to saving countless lives in this COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding CDC’s plans and recommendations for state and local planners around ventilator management in this kind of crisis will be key for helping them make decisions under very difficult conditions,” said Thomas V. Inglesby, Director of Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in the US.

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