US hospitals rush to find beds for surge of virus patients

U.S. & World

In this photo taken Tuesday, March 24, 2020, two massive temporary buildings meant for use as a field hospital for coronavirus patients stand together on a soccer field in the Seattle suburb of Shoreline, Wash. With U.S. hospital capacity stretched thin, hospitals around the country are scrambling to find space for a coming flood of COVID-19 patients, opening older closed hospitals and repurposing other buildings. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

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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