An Israeli doctor working in New York said Sunday the health system in the United States metropolis is on the verge of collapse due to the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
Dr. Amos Dodi, an ICU and pulmonary disease expert, told Ynet that hospitals were working with reduced staffing, which prevents additional wards from opening and adversely effecting patient care.
"We observe an increased demand on the health system, which we do not expect to change and are obliged simply to compromise the quality of care," he said.
Dodi said internal medicine wards were in overcapacity with beds put in hallways. "We are struggling with maintaining sterile areas at the moment," he said.
"People may be infected with COVID in our emergency rooms and we've already had to intubate some in the hallway. This is a sign of the health system collapsing," he said.
"These patients, some still in moderate condition, will deteriorate and because our ICU's are full, we will have nowhere to treat them. This will certainly cause unnecessary deaths," Dodi said.
New York is seeing a considerable rise in hospitalizations in children 18 and younger. "We have about three times more children in hospitals that their part in the population," he said.
"Some 50% of the kids do not have underlying conditions so this is an increase in serious morbidity compared to previous waves," he said.
We know that unvaccinated people have are three times more likely to get sick, and five times more likely to need hospital care," he said. "The problem is that only 25% of children aged 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated and in the 5 to 11 age group the percentage is even lower. We see that 50% of our pediatric cases are in children under the age of four, who must be under hospital supervision," he said.
Life outside hospital wards in New York continues, the doctor said. "New York would not bounce back from another closure after the damage caused to it over the past two years," he said.
"Children are going to school and people who must work, go to work. There is less traffic on the streets and less people out and there are also very long lines at testing sites," he said.
When asked whether more mitigation regulations could ease some of the stress on the system, Dr. Dodi said he thought some restrictions were needed.
"I don't think a full lockdown is an option but some restrictions on non-essential gatherings, could help the city," he said.