Alaskan Doctors Choose Whom to Save

As COVID-19 cases spike, Alaskan hospitals find themselves overwhelmed.

The COVID-19 Delta variant has put Alaska in a crisis. With high infection rates and low vaccination rates, Alaska’s medical system is overwhelmed with patients, and hospitals are short on beds. This crisis can be linked to a lack of a mask mandate, optional vaccines, and viral misinformation.
Staffing in Alaskan hospitals is low, causing further inefficiencies in patient processing and surgery. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 reached record highs in the past couple of months, 217 people in the state caught COVID on September 24th and 216 caught it on October 1st. With the number of beds needed, a majority of the 31 hospitals and nursing homes in Alaska entered crisis-of-care protocols. This protocol dictates that in the worst-case scenarios, doctors should prioritize treatments for only the patients most likely to survive. One in every 84 people in Alaska was diagnosed with Covid from September 22nd to September 29th.
Alaska’s Republican Governor, Mike Dunleavy, faces criticism for not mandating masks and saying that getting vaccinated is a personal choice. Only 61 percent of residents are fully vaccinated as a result. Unless we see changes in Alaskan policies now, the situation is expected to deteriorate further, killing thousands and plunging an already poor state further into hardship.