An article published in The New York Times (October 6, 2021, and on CNBC October 14), comments the Alaska COVID-19 crisis management and the specific case of two patients who needed to be admitted to the intensive care unit of the largest hospital in the state. As there was only one bed available, the medical team decided to give it to the one with the longest life expectancy; the other must wait and ends up dying. This situation shows the hospital crisis and the incidence of the pandemic in that place.
Several hospitals collapsed
In the middle of the urgency, health professionals are evaluating the chances of survival of these patients and the magnitude of the effects they may suffer as a result of their illness to prioritize emergency treatment.
Consequently, those with the greatest probability of recovery and survival with the least number of effects are selected. There is no evidence of discrimination based on age, disability or other.
During much of the pandemic, Alaska’s own isolation and the strict measures taken had a favorable effect, since that state maintained one of the lowest rates of infections and deaths in the United States during COVID-19 crisis. Among the measures adopted was the requirement of PCR for those who entered the country, and a plan to distribute the vaccine on a large scale among its inhabitants that covered the vast territory with a widely dispersed population.
Irresponsible management of the crisis of the current authorities
However, the Alaska COVID-19 has changed in recent months. The number of infections and deaths has grown exponentially to make Alaska one of the most affected states in the country. This has been due to the adoption by state authorities of less restrictive measures than those required by the federal government from Washington, the skepticism of certain sectors of the population regarding vaccines and the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
Currently, the variant represents more than 99% of the sequenced cases in the state of Alaska in the month of August and has continued this way until September. All these new circumstances have created an unprecedented hospital crisis, with the aggravation that the resource of sending coronavirus patients who require hospitalization to other cities in Alaska is not possible due to their already mentioned isolation.
Faced with this situation, health professionals have done everything they can to alert the population and request urgent prevention measures from the government, especially to achieve a higher percentage of vaccinated. The current government’s skepticism with the vaccine and the poor response of the population has meant that Alaska barely exceeds 50% of vaccinated and is among the states with the least immunized population.
The argument used by vaccine skeptics argues that many of the infected people had been vaccinated. This debate continues, leading to confrontations and riots, creating insecurity in health professionals who are highly pressured by the Alaska COVID-19 crisis. But with parts of the state wary of vaccines, Gov. Mike Dunleavy is reluctant to put restrictions to reduce the number of infections.
Isolation from the state has become an increasing risk as the Delta variant advances. The increase in infections in the state has continued to grow, even as infections have decreased across the country, with new daily cases reduced by about a third and hospitalizations by about a quarter since September. 1.
In that sense, Dr. Leslie Gonsette of Providence Alaska Medical Center said that she was obligated to inform the public of the calamitous scenes playing out at hospitals despite the aggressive attitude of the anti-vaccine.
For her part, Dr. Anne Zink, chief medical officer of Alaska’s health system, stated that one of its greatest limitations in the face of COVID-19 was its limited medical care capacity and the large number of people who need special medical attention at the ICU level in that state (read HERE).
Alaska government irresponsibility
Everything seems to point out that the qualified opinion with a scientific base of the experts has been devalued by the government, perhaps for political reasons, a situation not exclusive to Alaska and that at a global level it has aggravated the effects of the pandemic.