Covid’s ‘viral tsunami’ floods California’s hospitals

Covid’s ‘viral tsunami’ floods California’s hospitals

There are too few nursing staff and emergency beds to cope with the Golden State’s coronavirus surge

In April, with California’s coronavirus rates among the lowest in the country, many of the state’s nurses flew to different parts of America to help with the pandemic. This Christmas, it is the Golden State’s hospitals that are desperate.

“You just never really know if you’re going to get enough staff,” said Valerie Ewald, who has been a nurse in the intensive care unit at UCLA’s Santa Monica Medical Center for almost 20 years.

“It’s a lot of calling and cajoling and begging,” she said. “It’s hit us and every hospital in California. But the LA area really is getting hit bad.”

California has the highest number of new daily positive cases in the US — an average of more than 40,000 cases each day over the past week, with about 250 average daily deaths over that time. On December 23 it became the first US state to surpass 2m known positive cases — with the second million cases coming in just the prior six weeks, versus 10 months for the first million.