“I’ve heard of (them) putting their mask in a paper bag … and taking it out when they think they have a patent who has coronavirus,” Khaldun said.
“We don’t have enough masks; we don’t have enough gowns; and we need more from the federal government and others.”
But officials warn the newer hot spots will soon look like the earlier ones.
“Hot spots like Detroit, like Chicago, like New Orleans … will have a worse week next week than what they had this week,” US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told “CBS This Morning” on Friday.
“The letter is part of a larger policy document developed for an absolute worst-case scenario. It is not an active policy,” a Henry Ford Health System spokesman told CNN Friday. The system also said no Henry Ford hospital is at capacity with coronavirus patients.
The letter, addressed to patients and their families in the event it is sent, says patients with the best chance of improving would be the first priority. It also says patients treated with a ventilator or ICU care may have those treatments stopped if they do not improve over time.
“Henry Ford is one of America’s great health care systems, and what they put out is honest,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Friday. “… Everybody is doing everything we can to stop it, but you would be irresponsible as a health system CEO if you weren’t planning for that eventuality.”
Developments around the country
• Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center is converting a large part of its lobby into a potential ward with beds to help handle an expected surge.
• Chicago “could be expecting upwards of 40,000 hospitalizations in the coming weeks, not 40,000 cases,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday.
Experts say the battle is just beginning
Several health officials and experts say it’s still the beginning.
“We are in for a bumpy ride for the next 12 to 18 months,” Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said Thursday. “If we are aggressive now about stopping things, shutting down, building up a test regime, we can then open up again …. and most places can go back to work.”
“But only when we are ready. And we are nowhere near ready now,” he said.
State leaders like Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker have complained that states are competing against each other for health professionals’ personal protective equipment and devices like ventilators.
“Everybody deserves to have that gear, and I’m telling you, we’re killing ourselves trying to make that happen,” Baker said Thursday.
Hospitals and states trying to distribute among themselves is ridiculous, when the national government could coordinate, CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem said Friday.
Talking about when to get people back to their workplaces is “distracting us from what we need to do,” she said, adding that the focus should be on aggressively keeping people apart and addressing hospitals’ equipment shortages.
“This is the surge phase, and we need to focus on it,” she said.
The areas officials are worried about
Health officials say California, with more than 3,000 cases, isn’t far behind from seeing a surge in cases similar to New York’s. And with positive tests rapidly increasing across the country, experts worry other states may follow.
Jefferson and Orleans parishes, which make up most of metro New Orleans, ranked among the top seven counties nationwide in deaths per 100,00 residents for areas reporting 100 cases or more. And at least 3,000 were expected to be tested Thursday.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, said 40% of the country has “extraordinary low rates” of coronavirus. About 19 states have fewer than 200 cases, she said.
But she said counties including Wayne County, Michigan, and Cook County, Illinois, are showing a “more rapid increase” in cases.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said this week she sent Trump a request for a major disaster declaration and was hopeful the President would grant it in full “and within a matter of days, so we can provide more services to Michiganders who need them.”
Doctors, nurses on the front lines
Responding to the rising numbers, some hospitals say they’ve reached a breaking point — both because of overworked staff and few medical supplies left.
A Long Island hospital nurse said patients were streaming in with “non-stop coughing, sweaty, fevers” and with “fear in their eyes.”
“I haven’t slept because my mind won’t shut off. I cried in the bathroom on my break, as I peeled off the PPE from my sweaty self, mask indentations on my face. I cried the entire ride home,” the nurse, whom CNN is not naming, wrote in a social media post.
In one New York City hospital, an assistant nurse manager who suffered from asthma died less than a week after testing positive for the virus.
Kious Jordan Kelly was a “beloved member” of the nursing staff at Mt. Sinai Hospital, the hospital said.
The coronavirus crisis has “turned our frontline professionals into true American heroes,” Mt. Sinai said in a statement Tuesday. “Today, we lost another hero — a compassionate colleague, friend and selfless caregiver.”
To combat a desperate need for more hands on deck in hospitals across the country, medical schools are considering early graduation for their senior medical students to become doctors, according to Dr. Alison Whelan, the chief medical education officer for the Association of American Medical Colleges.
CNN’s Jacqueline Howard, Jen Christensen, Omar Jimenez, Bill Kirkos, Carma Hassan and Melissa Alonso contributed to this report.