IN CITIES AROUND THE country, the COVID-19 pandemic has moved hospitals from conventional care to crisis care, forcing choices upon us that no one wants to make, and changing the standard of care we have long taken for granted. Triage in a time of crisis must combine hard-headed, evidence-based policies with public understanding and support—even when individual cases tear at our hearts.

It goes without saying that every effort should be made to relieve scarcity, by bringing in more beds, equipment and personnel. Contingency standards of care can be used to provide the usual services in non-conventional ways, such as reusing or sharing some forms of equipment.

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