Because of her condition, she suffocates easily and has difficulty breathing. “I cry all the time because of my situation,” she said.
The physical discomfort is compounded by her frustration that so many people in her state are not being vaccinated against Covid, getting sick and occupying hospital beds.
Only 66 percent of adults in Georgia received at least one dose of the vaccine compared to 77 percent of all adults in the United States who received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the latest data from federal and state health officials.
“You punish people like me,” said Ms. Strong.
In some areas, doctors explicitly ration care. On Thursday, Idaho state officials expanded “crisis management standards” across the state, a standard that was restricted to the northern part of the state earlier this month. “We don’t have enough resources to adequately treat patients in our hospitals, whether they’re there for Covid-19 or a heart attack or a car accident,” said Dave Jeppesen, director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in a statement.
With few ICU beds available, Idaho hospitals had largely stopped offering hernia surgery or hip replacements prior to the new order. Now they’re also postponing cancer and heart surgeries, said Brian Whitlock, executive director of the Idaho Hospital Association. The hospitals there “did their best,” he said.
In Alaska, the state’s largest hospital, Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, has also begun rationing supplies as patients wait hours to get to the emergency room and doctors scramble to find beds. “Although we are doing our best, we can no longer provide the necessary care to every patient who needs our help,” said the hospital’s medical staff in a letter to the community in mid-September.
When the pandemic first struck hospitals last year, many institutions found no alternative to postponing non-essential procedures. “We weren’t sure what was really going to happen,” said Dr. Matthias Merkel, Senior Associate Chief Medical Officer for Capacity Management and Patient Flow at Oregon Health & Science University, the state’s academic medical center in Portland. “We stopped elective operations as a preventive measure and cleared the hospitals.”