Hospitals failed to fully contain COVID-19 inside their walls

According to previously unpublished data provided by CDC, thousands of inpatients contracted COVID-19 between May and June while hospitalized for other reasons. One-half of all U.S. hospitals voluntarily reported data on institution-acquired infections over the 9-week period.

According to previously unpublished data provided by CDC, thousands of inpatients contracted COVID-19 between May and June while hospitalized for other reasons. One-half of all U.S. hospitals voluntarily reported data on institution-acquired infections over the 9-week period. During that time, hospitals cared for 25,900 infected patients per day on average. Also during that time, more than 7,400 additional patients likely caught the virus through inadvertent transmission in the hospital while seeking care for other conditions. Compounding the problem, according to the data, was a persistent dearth of personal protective equipment, as consistently reported by participating hospitals. A recent study in JAMA Network Open concludes that hospitals can minimize the internal spread of COVID-19 through aggressive infection control strategies such as testing every patient before admission and requiring mask use for everyone able to wear one. In the research done at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, the study authors reported, only two cases of hospital-acquired COVID-19 were confirmed among more than 9,000 patients. The CDC data suggest hospital containment may have improved since the spring, with the 7-day average for new cases falling from 120–150 per day in late May and early June down to about 100 daily in July.