"Prepare for There Not to Be a Ventilator to Put You On," Warns Top Doctor

A spike in cases this fall will be especially dangerous for hospitalizations in this state.

As many people across the country enjoy the warm weather and the developing phases of reopening, some officials, like Mississippi's State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs, MD, are looking ahead at what's to come. Dobbs recently shared a bleak forecast for this coming fall, warning of the repercussions of citizens being too lax with statewide guidance. He warns that residents of Mississippi should prepare for hospitals to be so overwhelmed that they run out of resources, which could mean a ventilator shortage that would be detrimental to patients—whether they're sick with coronavirus or something else.

After Mississippi reported the largest single-day number of COVID-19 infections since the beginning of the crisis, Dobbs—who said he was unsurprised by the spike in numbersdelivered a candid interview with the Jackson Free Press. He expanded on how Mississippi is heading in a negative direction due in large part to citizens not following the measures put into place by law, and the failure to enforce these protocols.

"If everybody chooses to break the law, it's almost unenforceable. It's really a population issue," Dobbs said. "Just because you're tired of something doesn't mean it's gone. And we are gonna pay for it. We're paying for it now. And it's just going to continue to get worse."

Woman using a ventilator on male patient in hospital

When pressed to discuss explicitly how bad the situation will get in the fall, Dobbs warned that people should "prepare for not being able to get into the hospital if you have a car wreck, [to] have a heart attack and there not be a ventilator to put you on." As an added complication, a handful of the hospitals in Mississippi are at high risk of closing, according to Newsweek, which would constrict coronavirus care even further.

According to Dobbs, health officials had hoped to use the summer months to prepare the hospital system for the surge of cases in the fall, but with the current spike in infections, the system is too overwhelmed to consider the future at the moment.

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"You can only do so much, but people refuse to do what can be done to prevent transmission," Dobbs said. "We're anticipating an absolute disaster coming into the fall." And for more states that are struggling, Mandatory Masks "Won't Be Enough" in These 4 States, Doctor Says.

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