The Collapse of the Healthcare System

Healthcare systems around the world are put under serious tests during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 20, 2020, Max Stucki

The sudden spike in the number of patients combines with the shortage of medical supplies and PPE for healthcare workers could lead to the collapse of the healthcare system. 

Can the healthcare system handle the crisis during the pandemic?


"The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a massive burden on healthcare systems around the world.

In many places, the patient numbers are pushing the doctors and nurses to their limits. Medical supplies are running low as well. A scenario in which the healthcare system is either paralysed or collapses altogether is now a real possibility.

If this situation is realised somewhere, the consequences would be severe. Patients receiving treatment too late, or perhaps no treatment at all, could lead to a considerable increase in both mortality and time needed for recovery.

Conditions easily treatable under normal circumstances could become hazardous. Restoring the system from the state of a total breakdown could take a considerable time. The costs this would incur, combined with those resulting in from the unmet treatment needs leading to more serious health issues, could get very high.

The scenario described above may be unavoidable in some places. However, by careful preparation and planning, it might be averted.

Check our latest update and the COVID-19 radar to prepare for the immediate, and also the longer-term, future."

Max Stucki

Senior Foresight Analyst, Futures Platform

References: Hickok K., 2020.04.04, New York has been crushed by COVID-19. Will other US cities be spared? [ONLINE], Live Science

Check out the "COVID-19 - The World After" on Futures Platform. Read more

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