The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has published the results of a study online forecasting the impacts of Covid19 treatments on the US Healthcare system. Their analysis estimates that the peak of the pandemic will occur around April 16th, when more than 260,000 Americans will have confirmed cases of the virus that has already had large areas of the nation under lockdown for more than a week.
The most important implications of this data are that on this peak date, the nation as a whole will be lacking almost 85,000 hospital beds necessary to treat Covid19 patients, and short 18,900 intensive care beds to provide lifesaving support for the most critical patients.
This data also projects that more than 2500 Americans will be dying every day at the peak of the outbreak, and a total of 93,700 people may succumb to the virus in the US.
Digging down into the projections, the greatest shortages will fall in New York, which is already short more than 9,000 ICU beds and has only 718 intensive care beds available to serve the worst cases. The data shows that the virus will peak on April 9th in New York. Another US hotspot is in Lousiana, which will also see an earlier peak on April 10th, and though the state’s medical resources won’t be nearly as overtaxed (due to a much lower population) there will still be only 477 ICU beds to care for more that 1200 critical patients, and more than 80 people will be dying every day in the state.
During Tuesday’s coronavirus task force briefing from the White House, President Donald Trump said the government is holding back approximately 10,000 ventilators anticipating the projected surge in patients in the next two weeks. ” We have to hold them back because the surge is coming and it’s coming pretty strong and we want to be immediately able to move it into place without going and taking it so we’re ready to go.” the President stated.
In addition to the shortfall of life-saving medical equipment, there is already a critical shortage of protective equipment for the American health care workers on the front line of patient care. The New York Times reports that one major NYC hospital has already seen more than 200 staff test positive for the virus.
The latest data at the time of publication indicated 189,906 confirmed U.S. cases of coronavirus, which represents more cases than any other country in the world. While 3,906 individuals have died as a result of the virus, 7,096 people are listed as being recovered. Professional medical associations across the nation, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association, called Monday for government action to address the supply of protective equipment, and though the President has frequently mentioned calling on other industries to shift their production, no concrete deals have been announced. So far it has fallen on automotive manufacturers, plane makers, and fashion brands to voluntarily shift their production lines to making PPE and ventilators, but it remains to be seen if the lengthy process of re-tooling lines will be finished in time to matter.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent population health research center at UW Medicine, part of the University of Washington, that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world’s most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them. IHME makes this information freely available so that policymakers have the evidence they need to make informed decisions about how to allocate resources to best improve population health.
The original paper with in-depth information is available online, as well as methods and FAQ about the study’s modeling method.