Critically ill COVID-19 patients need artificial respiration. But there is a worldwide lack of equipment.
In 20% of those infected in the current pandemic, the SARS CoV-2 viruses are lodged deep in the lungs, since COVID-19 mainly affects the lower respiratory tract. Then the illness quickly becomes critical, and the most severe cases must be immediately connected to a ventilator in the intensive care unit. Because there are too few intensive care beds with ventilators even in high-technology countries such as Italy and Spain, doctors are increasingly having to decide who gets the lifesaving treatment and who doesn’t.