Swine Flu Victims Could Swamp Hospitals

CDC estimates are more than US can handle
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2009 2:10 PM CDT
Dr. Jeffrey Starke, right, Chairman of the Infection Control Committee at Texas Children's Hospital, answers a question about the death of a child from swine flu, April 29, 2009.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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(Newser) – Hospitals will be in big trouble if the swine flu outbreak matches the flu pandemic of 1968. In that mild pandemic, 35% of Americans got sick. If that happened today, 15 states would run out of hospital beds, and another dozen would have to fill 75% of their beds with nothing but flu victims, according to a new report based on CDC computer models.

“Our point in doing this is not to cry Chicken Little,” says the director of the group behind the study, “but really to point out the potential even a mild pandemic can have and how readily that can overwhelm the health care delivery system.”