Forecasting COVID-19 impact on hospital bed-days, ICU-days, ventilatordays and deaths by US state in the next 4 months
IHME COVID-19 health service utilization forecasting team
Christopher J.L. Murray, Department of Health Metrics Sciences
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Key Points Question: Assuming social distancing measures are maintained, what are the forecasted gaps in available health service resources and number of deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic for each state in the United States? Findings: Using a statistical model, we predict excess demand will be 64,175 (95% UI 7,977 to 251,059) total beds and 17,380 (95% UI 2,432 to 57,955) ICU beds at the peak of COVID-19. Peak ventilator use is predicted to be 19,481 (95% UI 9,767 to 39,674) ventilators. Peak demand will be in the second week of April. We estimate 81,114 (95% UI 38,242 to 162,106) deaths in the United States from COVID-19 over the next 4 months. Meaning: Even with social distancing measures enacted and sustained, the peak demand for hospital services due to the COVID-19 pandemic is likely going to exceed capacity substantially. Alongside the implementation and enforcement of social distancing measures, there is an urgent need to develop and implement plans to reduce non-COVID-19 demand for and temporarily increase capacity of health facilities. Abstract Importance: This study presents the first set of estimates of predicted health service utilization and deaths due to COVID-19 by day for the next 4 months for each state in the US. Objective: To determine the extent and timing of deaths and excess demand for hospital services due to COVID-19 in the US. Design, Setting, and Participants: This study used data on confirmed COVID-19 deaths by day from WHO websites and local and national governments; data on hospital capacity and utilization for US states; and observed COVID-19 utilization data from select locations to develop a statistical model forecasting deaths and hospital utilization against capacity by state for the US over the next 4 months. Exposure(s): COVID-19. Main outcome(s) and measure(s): Deaths, bed and ICU occupancy, and ventilator use. Results: Compared to licensed capacity and average annual occupancy rates, excess demand from COVID-19 at the peak of the pandemic in the second week of April is predicted to be 64,175 (95% UI 7,977 to 251,059) total beds and 17,380 (95% UI 2,432 to 57,955) ICU beds. At the peak of the pandemic, ventilator use is predicted to be 19,481 (95% UI 9,767 to 39,674). The date of peak excess demand by state varies from the second week of April through May. We estimate that there will a total of 81,114 (95% UI 38,242 to 162,106) deaths from COVID-19 over the next 4 months in the US. Deaths from COVID-19 are estimated to drop below 10 deaths per day between May 31 and June 6. Conclusions and Relevance: In addition to a large number of deaths from COVID-19, the epidemic in the US will place a load well beyond the current capacity of hospitals to manage, especially for ICU care. These estimates can help inform the development and implementation of strategies to mitigate this gap, including reducing non-COVID-19 demand for services and temporarily increasing system capacity. These are urgently needed given that peak volumes are estimated to be only three weeks away. The estimated excess demand on hospital systems is predicated on the enactment of social distancing measures in all states that have not done so already within the next week and maintenance of these measures throughout the epidemic, emphasizing the importance of implementing, enforcing, and maintaining these measures to mitigate hospital system overload and prevent deaths.