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In what ways could the healthcare system become overwhelmed?

As COVID-19 cases surge in the U.S., some hospitals are struggling with an increase in patients and a shortage of nurses and doctors to care for them, in addition to shortages of hospital beds and medical supplies. Unfortunately, this means patients seeking care for COVID-19, as well as other emergency health conditions like heart attacks or strokes, may not receive the quality of care they would otherwise receive if the health care system were not overwhelmed. People could needlessly suffer and die.

This is why people should take precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities from COVID-19 such as social distancing, wearing masks, improving ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowds, and washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Updated 7 December 2020

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