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Stop the COVID Surge Before CT Hospitals Are Overwhelmed

This petition had 1,027 supporters

November 27, 2020

Dear Governor Lamont,

We write to express our strong and urgent concerns about the rapid rise in hospital admission and critically ill COVID-19 patients during the recent second wave here in Connecticut. The doctors, nurses, therapists, and other health professionals among us can attest that these recent developments pose a major threat to the health and well-being of the population of our state. The most important thing to save lives right now is to effect a population-wide change in behavior through temporary closure of indoor dining and exercise facilities, and an intensified public messaging campaign against indoor public gatherings.

In the media, it has been widely reported that the lower mortality rates in the second wave reflect dramatic advances in COVID patient care. This is far from accurate. While the scientific and medical understanding of COVID has certainly improved, existing therapies have modest benefits and there are no magic bullets. Health professionals tell us that to save lives, they must have the ability to monitor COVID patients carefully, and that depends on having an adequate supply of hospitalist and intensivist physicians, medical and critical care nurses, respiratory therapists, and beds in adequately equipped ICUs and step-down units.

Capacity projections often look at hospital and ICU beds as if all patients were the same. Such projections underestimate how challenging it is to care for COVID-19 patients and their unpredictable disease. The patients are extremely sick compared to other hospitalized and critically ill patients, and often in the prime of life, without major co-morbidities. For ICU patients in particular, the duration of illness is much longer than that for other patients; up to one month or more in ICU survivors. Unlike other conditions that have a more predictable trajectory, sudden decompensation and death may occur at any time during the hospital course, and constant vigilance is required. Patient rooms must be visited repeatedly throughout the day, requiring frequent time-consuming changes of PPE. Patients and families are incredibly frightened and it’s important to take the extra time to comfort them at the bedside and over video conferencing to explain what is happening and what to expect. 

In the past few weeks, many hospitals in CT have again opened up new ICU and other dedicated COVID units and increased staffing of nurses, physicians and respiratory therapists to the best of their abilities. But this flex capacity is already becoming saturated and we expect further increases after Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays. It is essential to look ahead. As you are aware, hospitalizations and deaths are a lagging indicator and they continued to rise for another 5 weeks after your statewide Stay Safe, Stay Home order back in March.

We know that this is a difficult policy decision, as closures would have immediate economic implications for many in our state, including the most vulnerable. But we would advocate that the most immediate way to revive our economy and eliminate the many adverse health effects of COVID is to end the pandemic. In a matter of weeks to months, one or more vaccines will be available, and it is essential for our health systems to be able to devote their full attention to administering these so that we can end the pandemic in our state and get our lives back on track.

We are grateful for your ongoing strong leadership during these challenging times. Based on what we know about the epidemiology of COVID-19, we are confident that a decision to close indoor dining and gyms and ban all other unnecessary public gatherings would protect our citizens from this lethal disease, keep our hospitals and caregivers from becoming overwhelmed, and save lives.


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