logo

Has the pandemic surfaced vulnerabilities in medical oxygen supply and distribution in the US?

Thursday, September 2, 2021
By Stevie Rosignol-Cortez
YES

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in early 2021 noted continuing localized challenges in securing enough oxygen to treat seriously ill COVID-19 patients, citing strains during 2020 outbreaks in New York, southern California and elsewhere. “If enough areas are severely affected concurrently, a national crisis could ensue,” Hopkins warned.

COVID-19 treatments using high flow oxygen therapy use five to ten times more oxygen than a mechanical ventilator. With capacity limits on piped supplies, hospitals turn to portable oxygen, in turn causing oxygen cylinder shortages.

The summer surge of hospitalizations in southern states has stressed supplies in that region. On Aug. 28, a hospital-supply group told Bloomberg News that the "worst-hit" hospitals in the Southeast have only 12 to 24 hours supply on hand.

Even before the pandemic, many lower-income countries faced much more “severe” shortages, McKinsey & Co. reports.

This fact brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Between 2020 and 2022, under close editorial supervision, Gigafact contracted a group of freelance writers and editors to test the concepts for fact briefs and provide inputs to our software development process. We call this effort Gigafact Foundry. Over the course of these two years, Gigafact Foundry writers published over 1500 fact briefs in response to claims they found online. Their important work forms the basis of Gigafact formats and editorial guidelines, and is available to the public on Gigafact.org. Readers should be aware that while there is still a lot of relevant information to be found, not all fact briefs produced by Gigafact Foundry reflect Gigafact's current methods and standards for fact briefs. If you come across any that you feel are out of date and need to be looked at with fresh eyes, don't hesitate to contact us at support@gigafact.org.
FACT BRIEF BY
facebook
twitter
email
email