Meduza has done a good job in systemically compiling regional data on ventilator/ECMO machine availability across Russia’s regions (see below).
Russia also has plenty of beds, thanks to the Soviet legacy (as I pointed out a couple of months ago).
So in the event the epidemic is not contained, it probably won’t do too much worse than the rest of the OECD, high smoking rates regardless.
Incidentally, Germany is much better stocked with beds than Italy, and also has MUCH better ventilator numbers (Germany has 25,000 and is procuring another 10,000). I suspect this is one of the reasons why its death rate remains so much lower than Italy’s, aside from classification differences –
Germany only ascribes a death to COVID-19 if it occurs as a result of pulmonary complications – and the initial wave of infections being more concentrated amongst young people. [AK: correction]
Back to ventilators. According to Meduza, at least in terms of raw numbers, Russia actually compare favorably with the the comparator countries of Ukraine, Italy, and the UK (confirming an observation I made in a recent post).
The actual number of US ventilators, including older models in hospitals – but it’s not like Russia’s are all modern – is around 160,000 (“62,000 full-featured ventilators, and 98,000 more basic ones”). Perhaps another 20,000 more can be dredged up from old military stocks, etc. The Russian counts include all kinds of ventilators, so that’s the more appropriate comparator.
Why the very good American performance relative to, say, the UK? I am not sure, but if I had to take a guess, I would say that the paranoid neocons under Dubya were obsessed with the possibility of bioweapons attacks on the US – I have the impression it was their second biggest WMD-related obsession after a nuclear EMP attack. In the event, the instructions for hospitals to retain their old ventilators has worked out happily, in the end.
Haven’t been able to find a unified source on European ventilators/capita but it will probably be correlated to their ICU density.
Yeah, I really don’t think that the Netherlands – the last major country to continue holding to the “herd immunity” strategy – is being smart about this.
Ventilator production capacity:
- Germany – 830 / month (order of 10,000 is stretched out over a year)
- Italy – 500 / month
- Russia – 720+ / month (h/t Dmitry)
Incidentally, I noted that the factory producing most of Russia’s ventilators was upgraded in 2015. Would be ironic if Western sanctions helped Russia improve its COVID-19 resilience in this most direct of ways.
So there’s differences in the extent to which different countries need to “Flatten the Curve” in order to remain within system capacity.
It’s relatively high for the US, Russia, Germany (South Korea, probably China, too – average Chinese hospital has 50-60 ventilators).
It’s relatively low for the UK, Ukraine, and – especially unfortunately, given that they are 10 days ahead of the rest of Europe – Italy.
Countries in the latter group need to be even more panicky about containing the epidemic within their borders than the others as they can be expected to suffer more from it.
I am not actually sure that doctor quality – which would generally privilege Western Europe and the US over Eastern Europe – will play a very big role. Doctor quality is a big deal when you’re treating individual, complicated cases… the sort of thing you need to have an average life expectancy of 83 instead of 78. Treating epidemics is more of a battlefield situation. No time for individualized treatments, where medical virtuosity is given space to shine. Once you need to go the triage stage, lots of people aren’t getting any treatment at all. Doctors can be as world-class, but what difference does it make if there’s not enough ventilators.
Anyhow, just throwing some numbers and thoughts into the air. Discuss.