Health systems around the world are carrying an increasingly heavy burden conferred by a virus that has impacted all aspects of service delivery. Heart and lung services in particular are stretched, and there is a growing backlog of patients waiting for elective surgery. As of October, the U.S. was “likely developing a nationwide backlog of millions of surgeries,” according to McKinsey. The corollary of this stark fact is higher morbidity and mortality rates.

This virus has held global healthcare delivery at a standstill for over 18 months, despite the promising vaccine roll-out. The U.S. “passed the hospital breaking point” in December, as a headline in The Atlantic put it. Rochelle Walensky of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that a recent increase in coronavirus cases could herald a “fourth surge.” If we do not act quickly to resolve the situation, the result could be thousands of untimely deaths.


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