According to the CDC, on June 10, 2020, there were an estimated 17,376 new COVID-19 cases in the United States and 950 new COVID-19 caused deaths. Overall, the number of cases have been falling, but a number of States are starting to see a rising number of infections over the last two weeks. Experts are not certain that cases will begin to rise again dramatically in a "second wave," but this is a risk that many believe must be taken seriously.
One of the concerns about a second wave is that some hospitals will not be prepared with sufficient amounts of personal protective equipment. Anecdotally, we have heard from some veterans who have personally encountered a lack of PPE being worn by staff or other patients. Veterans and Veterans Health Administration care providers we have spoken with have reported various practices regarding PPE in place at different VA facilities.
So, already, it is not clear that VA has sufficient PPE to take care of their current needs. But, what if there is a second wave and what if that second wave has more cases than the first?
At a recent hearing of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, VA just stated openly that they are not prepared with a sufficient supply of PPE. An inadequate amount of PPE at VHA facilities puts the veterans they care for at a higher risk of contracting the disease. Many of these veterans are also at a higher risk of suffering a severe illness.
Here's to hoping that there is no second wave. But, VA and Congress should ensure VA is prepared for the worst.