COVID-19 to cost U.S. hospitals $200 billion through June

May 7, 2020

The American Hospital Association (AHA), in a new report, projected a loss of $202.6 billion from COVID-19 expenses and lost revenue for U.S. hospitals and health systems from March 1 to June 30—about $50 billion in losses each month.

"The fight against this virus has created the greatest financial crisis in history for hospitals and health systems," said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack in a press release. "While we appreciate the support and resources from Congress and the Administration, many hospitals are still on the brink."

The report considered the cost of COVID-19 treatments, as well as canceled services and increased personal protective equipment (PPE) costs. AHA did not include increases in drug or labor costs in their analysis.

Along with hospitals, both Massachusetts and Illinois have been hard hit during the current pandemic, and though both states' governors have said they will continue shelter-in-place mandates through May, the states are both grappling with how to safely reopen when the time comes.

As of May 6, all Massachusetts residents 2 years and older will be expected to wear a mask in public. The state’s order specifies a fine of up to $300 for not wearing a mask and said business owners can refuse patrons failing to wear a face covering.

Meanwhile, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced his state’s five-phase reopening plan on the same day it tracked 176 deaths—the highest daily death toll in the pandemic. Pritzker's plan divides Illinois into four regions and said each region may meet phases at their own paces.

Currently, most of the state is in phase 1 or 2, with all nonessential businesses closed but some curbside retail allowed. In phase 3, groups of 10 could gather, and salons and more businesses could open. In Phase 4, schools and daycare centers will open, and groups of as many as 50 will be allowed. Phase 5—a full restoration of the economy— not happen until a vaccine is available.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois has 68,232 cases, including 2,974 deaths. As of May 6, the United States has over 1,200,000 COVID-19 cases, according to the USA Today tracker, including more than 73,000 deaths.

In other moves geared towards reopening, the mayor of San Francisco announced all residents who must leave their homes to go to work can now be tested for COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms.

In COVID-19-related news, Rick Bright, MD, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, filed a whistleblower complaint and said he was demoted to a less prestigious position after voicing concerns about the safety of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 therapeutics.

In the 89-page complaint, Bright also said he urged the early stockpiling of N95 respirators but was widely ignored.

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