Ventilators are one of the most important tools hospitals have for keeping Covid-19 patients in the most critical condition alive.
Between 21% and 31% of Covid-19 patients in the U.S. have required hospitalization, and 5% to 11% have required intensive care. Officials have not reported how many of these patients developed respiratory distress so severe they needed to be put on a ventilator, but among one group of patients in China, 12% did.
The number of Covid-19 cases is growing at such a rapid pace, it is possible that many hospitals will not have enough ventilators available for the patients that need them. If this happens, any patients who would otherwise survived their infections could die.
In the video above, we look at how ventilators work, and how they are used to treat patients with Covid-19.