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Covid-19: A view from New York

Ruth Macklin

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2020.038


I live in New York City, identified as “the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic.” My view differs from that of many of the millions living in this large metropolitan area who are poor. I am not rich, but I am privileged: I have a retirement income for which I have saved all my working life and I have no debts. I am isolated in my apartment having food delivered. But what if I require hospitalization, from Covid-19 or another medical condition? New York State has guidelines for allocation of scarce ventilators in times of scarcity. The guidelines reject advanced age as a criterion for triage because it discriminates against the elderly. Other proposals contend that priority should be given to those who have not yet “lived a full life.” Allocation guidelines set a priority on saving the most lives, but hard choices remain within that broadly defined goal. Key words: Covid-19 pandemic, New York epicenter, resource allocation, age-based selection, shortage of ventilators, triage committee

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