March 26, 2020

9/11 HASN’T MADE US PREPARED: New York City has identified about twenty thousand cases of Coronavirus (pdf file). That’s everyone who has tested positive. It’s not clear how many of those patients require hospitalization, but it’s almost certainly less than 20% (and probably more like 5%). Let’s use the 20% figure as the worst-case scenario. The media, social and traditional, is telling us that New York City’s hospital system is buckling. If so, it’s buckling under the pressure of at most four thousand new, hospitalized patients. New York, as we know, is, along with Washington, DC, the primary obvious potential terrorist target in the U.S. I would have thought with the threat of biological terrorism, dirty bombs, etc., we’d have contingency plans to expand hospitals capacity by tens of thousands quickly. Apparently not. If four thousand or fewer new hospital patients in a week or so can bring down the entire NYC hospital system, we have a serious preparedness problem.

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