Ventilators Should Be Cause of ConcernBy Miriam Bello | Thu, 03/26/2020 - 10:50
Ventilators have been the No. 1 concern for countries facing a larger number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Although Mexico still has a pretty controlled situation, ventilators are actually something to be worried about as we have a considerable shortage of this life-saving device that provides oxygen to critically ill patients and allows to ventilate the lungs for survival.
According to the US Society of Critical Care Medicine, the country has 200,000 ventilators and 960,000 seriously ill patients, forcing the US government to purchase an additional 800,000 ventilators. Companies like 3M, GE and even Ford have joined their efforts in manufacturing respirators and ventilators to face the crisis. “Together with 3M and GE, we have instructed our teams of engineers and designers to be quick and creative to help quickly to increase production of this vital equipment,” said Jim Hackett, President of Ford.
In Mexico, according to the Ministry of Health, the current inventory of ventilators is at 5,523 units, having at the moment around 2,000 seriously ill patients. While numbers are looking fine, Alejandro Macias, former commissioner during the A (H1-N1) crisis, said that by the time the country reaches Phase 3 of contingency, device availability will not be enough as many people will need respiratory therapy simultaneously. Macias also explained that “Mexico City’s metropolitan area Mexico of 20 million inhabitants has around 1,000 ventilators. However, about 20,000 patients will require a breathing machine in a three-months period.”
The Ministry of Health (SSA) has declared that Mexico has enough equipment to care for 2,000 patients but, foreseeing a worst scenario, the ministry would be joining efforts with SEDENA and SEMAR. Still, the number of ventilators remains at 5,523, with 2,896 provided by IMSS, 2,053 by SSA, 330 by ISSSTE, 133 by PEMEX, 56 by SEDENA and 55 by SEMAR. Malaquias Lopez, a UNAM scholar has said that if the epidemiological curve is flattened, there could be enough ventilators to cover the country’s needs. Else, there will be deficiencies.
There has not been an official statement from the Ministry of Health about a strategy to comply with a critical scenario. To date, Mexico reports 475 positive cases of COVID-19 and 6 deaths.