COLORADO, USA — Data scientists and engineers partnered with epidemiologists and public health officials to project COVID-19’s impact on hospitals and populations in each state.
CovidActNow.org’s creators stress on the website, “the model is intended to make fast decisions, not predict the future.” But the three-month trajectory is something 9Health Medical Expert, Dr. Payal Kohli said we should pay close attention to immediately.
“I wish I could say this was a gross overestimation," Kohli said. "It may be overestimated slightly because this model does have some assumptions that are not real life. But I think we need to take this seriously."
According to this projection, if Coloradoans were to do nothing:
- Hospitals would reach capacity early next week
- Hospitalizations would peak around April 20th
- About 126,000 people in the state would be hospitalized due to the disease
If Colorado commits to three months of social distancing, the projection says:
- Hospitals would reach capacity in the second week of April
- Hospitalizations would peak in early May
- About 50,000 people in the state would be hospitalized due to the disease
If all Coloradoans commit to shelter in place for three months, according to this model:
- Hospitals would never become overloaded
- Hospitalizations would peak in early July
- About 6,000 people in the state would be hospitalized due to the disease
This model estimates social distancing alone will lead to more than 70% of Coloradoans becoming infected. A shelter-in-place brings that number down to 9%.
If the state locks down for three months like Wuhan, China, it's predicted that less than 1% of the population would become infected.
“That's what this model tells us. The power of the intervention's still within our control,” said Kohli, who warned that failing to act now could lead to a catastrophic impact on hospitals nationwide. “We saw this in Italy. The plane went down and they had to brace for impact. They had to decide which patients to save and which ones to let die.”
Kohli said Colorado and other states have days to act, not weeks, to flatten the curve as outlined in the model.
She said it may be too late for New York, the epicenter of the country’s pandemic, bracing for impact itself. Cases there have surpassed 25,000. Officials say confirmed cases are doubling every three days.
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