Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Policy Brief No.75 - May, 2020
How Many Intensive Care Beds Will A Nuclear Weapon Explosion Require?
The near-universal response to the panic created by COVID-19 leads to the conclusion that the number of ICU beds needed to deal with a disaster should become a new norm, and a new way to judge when radical action is needed to respond to a global threat. So what other types of global catastrophes could call for more hospital infrastructure and personnel than is now available? The nuclear bomb is one obvious answer. This Policy Brief, first published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (28 April 2010), applies the number of available intensive care beds as the new measure for potential nuclear catastrophes.