march 2020 • Annals of Internal Medicine

How Should U.S. Hospitals Prepare for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

LVineet Chopra, Eric Toner, Richard Waldhorn, Laraine Washer

DOI: 10.7326/M20-09074


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is on the verge of being declared a pandemic. As of 7 March 2020, a total of 423 cases and 19 deaths, including several non–travel-related cases, areas of sustained community transmission, and a nursing home outbreak, have been reported (1). Best-case estimates suggest that COVID-19 will stress bed capacity, equipment, and health care personnel in U.S. hospitals in ways not previously experienced (2). How can health systems prepare to care for a large influx of patients with this disease?