Though it is ultimately very good news, there is also some bad news.
According to a report by NPR, US governments spent $660 million providing 17 field hospitals (four of which are not completed) to help deal with the pandemic, but added that most of them haven’t been used, like in, they haven’t handled a single patient by the time NPR released its report.
As a result, some are already being dismantled.
The experts weighed in to tell us the reasons why they weren’t use, but one person commented on the obvious, there were simply not enough sick people to put them to use.
And perhaps a field hospital set up in Stony Brook, New York best symbolizes this. Built to handle 1,038 patients, according to NPR it hasn’t had a single customer so far. It cost $155 million which works out to nearly $150,000 per empty bed.
A 1,022 bed field hospital set up in Old Westbury, New York cost taxpayers $118 million also has had no patients but was a relative bargain costing only $118,000 per empty bed.
But these weren’t even the worst deals, according to NPR a small 100 bed field hospital set up in White Plains, NY cost $46.9 million or $469,000 per empty bed as it also had no patients so far.
There were some better deals. A field hospital in Detroit capable of holding 1,000 patients cost only $9.5 million or about $9,452 per bed. It at least handled 39 patients.
You can see NPR’s chart breaking down all the field hospitals including costs, size, usage and location by clicking here.
Now undoubtedly there are some reasons for the price variances, including available use of facilities and squeezed time frames for construction, but according to NPR, the 17 field hospitals were capable of handling as many as 14,827 patients on a daily basis. They saw in total only 1,177 patients and 13 field hospitals (including the four that haven’t been completed) had no patients at all.
These hospitals were ordered based on projections of the coronavirus infection provided by computer models that seem to have been woefully exaggerated.