March 18, 2020 / By Christina Maxouris and Holly Yan, CNN
(CNN) – The American healthcare system might not be prepared for what’s next in the coronavirus pandemic if people don’t heed warnings from authorities, health officials say.
Every state now has coronavirus after West Virginia reported its first case. Nationwide, more than 7,000 people have been infected, and more than 110 have died.
“The bottom line is things will get much worse,” said Dr. James Phillips, an assistant professor at George Washington University Hospital.
“We’re at a significant risk of overwhelming the number of (hospital) beds we have.”
Two major factors are fueling this pandemic: the fact that people with no symptoms can easily spread the virus, and problems with testing in the US.
That’s why it’s critical for everyone — even those who don’t feel sick — to stay at least 6 feet away from others and avoid social gatherings.
“We’re so far behind on testing, there’s only one way we can be certain not to transmit the virus and be certain not to get it ourselves. And that is that we need to start treating every person as though they have this,” Phillips said.