Hospitals forced to balance coronavirus patients with patients with other ailments

Former Acting CDC Director Dr. Richard Besser discusses how New York’s hospitalization numbers were down yesterday but today increased by 40%.
4:30 | 03/27/20

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Transcript for Hospitals forced to balance coronavirus patients with patients with other ailments
Doctor Richard passer former acting director of the CDC a longtime medical waste here. And ABC now runs the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation always great to have you on doctor B. Nice next year that he wanted to inspire Stewart when. What an inspiring story indeed I would like to talk to bit about the tricky balancing act that hospitals are doing as they try to battle corona virus while also dealing with. Other typical ailments. Yeah yeah that's it that's a major challenge to win when there's a new. Pandemic a new emerging infection the other conditions that people have don't go away. And so just thinking about the challenges that are there for people with diabetes and heart disease and end and cancer and think about that particular challenges that. Lower income people have that people haven't rural communities. Or eat reservations. There are going to be really challenge to get the care they need it during a time of crisis. Here New York the nation's corona virus epicenter yesterday's Governor Cuomo was cautiously optimistic that the hospitalization was coming down thanks to our social distancing the Ben today. We learned that in just one day New York's hospitalization rate shot up by 40%. What do you make of that it was yesterday's good news simply kind of false hope. Well I think it's a little early to either declare. Oh victory or or defeat you know this is that this is a long game it's gonna take a long time. Tip for this to develop and it is the numbers are going to be very it until we have sufficient testing out there to really be able to say what's going on in each community. You're as we talked about and so for a pandemic is a series of local outbreaks occurring on different time lines. So New York is is seeing a lot more activity than other cities. They're gonna see this but it until she widespread testing. A lot of the numbers easier going to be affected by the number of tests that are being done in record rather than the true spread of the disease. So how and when will we know of social distancing is really working. Well I I think some of that does again come back to testing being able to see that. Being able to get the word from from doctors and hospitals. In terms of do they have beds to the evidence that enough equipment can he meet the needs. Europe even without really good data and without us hearing from the public health scientists who who really know how to model isn't tracking an emblem look at those numbers it is going to be hard to say we see in any infectious disease outbreak though there's there's a lack which make it even harder. They're trying to time your exposed it to the time you're diagnosed as as a case. That can be. You need to be always say well what we're doing is having a big impact. It with hospital supplies running alone today the governor of New York announced that hospitals can split then a leader's use one machine for two patients. How does that work and is that safe. To. Well you know it's not something you would want it to outside his situation scarcity. But in a situation scarcity like we're in now and you don't overstate scarcity I was here and other reports that they're still art ventilator is available. But you can see where we're headed we're heading to a situation where that there's tough decisions that are gonna need to be made. And it is possible to take one ventilator and how to support the breathing. But more than one patient. That would be down be terrific it might bias some time until there's additional protective equipment additional violators are different an additional material. Or rent. And there's a lot of confusion about what to do if you've recovered from cove in nineteen. When you can come out of isolation for example ABC's Caylee hard tongue how the virus until is that she's been getting mixed messages and can you tell us about the new guidelines of the CDC. Just put out as far as when you in theory are no longer contagious. Well here it is some of the challenge here is that his science is still developing. The hope is that after you've had an infection with two risks Kobe nineteenth you can't get it again and and you'll be immune. But we won't know that we won't know how long protection lasts her for quite some time be given that it's it's a new infection. It's important here to follow the guidelines. Your. Does he CEO local health departments. So that you're not putting other people at risk prematurely. Doctor vasser always great to have you on with thank you very much for your knowledge. Thanks so as he.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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