COLUMBUS (WOOD/WCMH) — The peak of the COVID-19 pandemic is about 17 days away for Ohio, according to projections published Thursday by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Nationally, the organization says even if the state and nation continue to use “strong social distancing” and other protective measures until the end of May, demand for hospital services will exceed capacity.
While the IHME does not anticipate Ohio experiencing a hospital bed or ICU bed shortage, hospitals will be running at near capacity.
That projection different from modeling data released Monday by Ohio State that projects a mid-late-April peak.
The nation is on track for a shortage of 49,292 hospital beds at the height of the pandemic, with an intensive care unit bed shortage of 14,601 beds, according to the IHME. That’s if all states institute social distancing and other prevention measures by April 2. If not, IHME warns the numbers will increase.
“No state, no metro area will be spared. And the sooner that we react and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they put in full mitigation at the same time understanding exactly what their hospitals need, then we’ll be able to move forward together and protect the most Americans,” White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Sunday on NBC’s Meet The Press, referring to IHME’s forecast.
To help meet demand, the IHME is recommending hospitals do what those in Ohio have already started: canceling elective procedures, setting up additional beds, adding temporary facilities and ramping up production of ventilators, masks and other personal protection equipment. The organization says mobile military resources are also an option.
Birx says the coronavirus pandemic will move in waves, peaking in each metro area at different times.
“What we’re trying to say to everyone is when this virus comes to your metro area, please stay in your metro area where your care can be provided because it’s spreading virus more quickly around the United States,” Birx said, referring to the spread of COVID-19 from New York to Long Island and southern Florida as people left the city amid alerts.
The IHME expects the pandemic to peak in Ohio on April 15 and nationally on April 14. The IHME predicts Ohio will need 712 ventilators, representing about 4% of what the nation needs. President Donald Trump has tapped General Motors and others to start building more ventilators to try to meet that need.
Based on current death rates, the IHME is forecasting the COVID-19 daily death toll in the U.S. to spike at 95 in Ohio on April 15, with a total of 2,733 Ohioans losing their lives to COVID-19 by Aug. 4. Ohio is expected to finally record no COVID-19 deaths for the day on June 30.
Nationwide, IHME is predicting 2,341 will die at the height of the pandemic on April 14, with the daily death toll finally dropping below 100 on June 12. By Aug. 4, an estimated 81,114 people in the U.S. will have died from COVID-19, if the IHME’s predictions hold true.
The group says more action will be needed to avoid a second wave of COVID-19 cases.
“By end the of the first wave of the epidemic, an estimated 97% of the population of the United States will still be susceptible to the disease, so avoiding reintroduction of COVID-19 through mass screening, contact tracing, and quarantine will be essential to avoid a second wave,” the organization states on its website.