US hospitals rush to find beds for surge of virus patients

Coronavirus

This March 23, 2020 photo shows the former MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, Ill. U.S. hospitals are rushing to find beds for a coming flood of COVID-19 patients, opening older closed hospitals and re-purposing other medical buildings. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. hospitals are rushing to find beds for a coming flood of COVID-19 patients, opening older closed hospitals and re-purposing other medical buildings.

Simple math is spurring hospital leaders to prepare. With total U.S. cases now doubling every three days, empty intensive care unit beds, needed by an estimated 5% of the sick, will rapidly fill.

An Associated Press analysis of federal hospital data finds more than 7 million people age 60 and older — those most at risk of severe COVID-19 illness — live in counties without ICU beds. 

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