The coronavirus could put more than 750,000 people in New York city into area hospitals — crushing the region’s health care system, frightening new projections from the Harvard School of Public Health and ProPublica show.
The detailed analysis, published by the two organizations, shows three-quarters of a million people in the Big Apple and Long Island suburbs will need treatment over the next year even under a “moderate” scenario, under which 40 percent of the population is infected.
City health authorities have already advised all New Yorkers to consider themselves infected and stay at home, if possible.
The data released shows the wave of patients that both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have warned would overwhelm health care facilities in the region:
- The city’s main hospital region — covering Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island and western Queens — would need 11,500 beds, but has just 3,060 beds empty on average.
- Eastern Queens and Long Island would need 10,600 beds, but have just 1,230 beds empty on average.
- The Bronx would need 2,990 beds, but has just 810 beds empty on average.
The Harvard researchers’ scenario assumes each coronavirus patient will require 12 days in the hospital, based on data from China.
The alarming stats show why government leaders and public health officials are obsessed with “flattening the curve” to prevent and contain the transmission of COVID-19 and give the health care system a longer period of time to handle a more manageable flow of cases.
“Vast communities in America are not prepared to take care of the COVID-19 patients showing up,” Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, who helped develop the analysis, told ProPublica.