March 12, 2020

RE: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)...a simple idea to increase number of hospital beds/ventilators etc. for Emergency situation(s)


Director & Professor, Epidemiology

Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Department of Veterinary Science

College of Agriculture, Food & the Environment

College of Public Health

University of Kentucky

1490 Bull Lea Rd.

Lexington, KY  40511  

859-257-8283 (Office)

859-321-4800 (Business cell)

859-255-1624 (Fax)


I just listened to a piece on NBC on Sirius XM that spoke to a predicted shortage of hospital beds/respirators in the US in face of the coronavirus outbreak.  I believe they quoted only 25,000 beds/ventilators in US facilities with a projected need of 100,000 or more.


What no one seems  to be considering is that the US military and Homeland Security have thousands of mobile field hospitals that can be deployed strategically around the U.S. on a moment’s notice by the President.  If deployed now, these hospitals could be in place and fully functional within weeks, significantly increasing the number of treatment facilities, doctors, nurses and technicians that could easily manage patients with serious respiratory disease or any other condition.  My unit helped to establish the first base in Afghanistan after 9-11 which included a large field hospital to treat combatants with severe wounds and injuries of all kinds.  This was done in very short order and could easily be done right here in CONUS.  Further, this would be win-win as our active duty and reserve medical corps troops need and would welcome this real-life field training experience.  I think this option should be seriously considered given the fact that we are still ahead of the predicted exponential increase in new clinical cases of coronavirus infections over the next few weeks.   If we begin today, we could have hundreds of additional hospitals established within that timeframe.  Of course, the USAF is fully ready to provide expert, fast patient and supply transport as needed.  They train for this and always welcome the opportunity for the real deal in the field.


*Note: Dr. Carter is a Retired COL, U.S. Army Reserve; President, American Veterinary Epidemiology Society (AVES) and a member of the One Health Initiative team.


One Health Initiative Autonomous pro bono Team:

Laura H. Kahn, MD, MPH, MPP ▪ Bruce Kaplan, DVM ▪ Thomas P. Monath, MD ▪ Lisa A. Conti, DVM, MPH ▪ Thomas M. Yuill, PhD ▪ Helena J. Chapman, MD, MPH, PhD ▪ Craig N. Carter, DVM, PhD