The coronavirus is going to challenge industries across the globe, and among the most pressing questions is whether hospitals in the United States will be adequately equipped to combat the virus. Nonprofit newsroom ProPublica has released an in-depth report showing how hospitals can be quickly overwhelmed by the virus and why it’s important to “flatten the curve,” or slow down the spread of infections.
The report examines new data released by the Harvard Global Health Institute showing how hospital regions across the country will be impacted by the outbreak. Specifically, the report generates information showing which areas near you could be overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases and displays a few scenarios for how the next 18 months could play out. You can check how your current location will be impacted by entering your city or zip code in the search bar featured in the report, or you can enter a different location to view its predictions.
The interactive search provides an estimate of how many people over the age of 18 would be infected at various infection rates, along with how many beds the region will need to treat those impacted and whether the region’s intensive care unit would be overwhelmed. The data also shows which communities could be under capacity and have the most number of free beds available.
Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, notes that in most scenarios “vast communities in America are not prepared to take care of the COVID-19 patients showing up,” he told ProPublica. While the numbers are rough estimates, they show why it is important that we as individuals play our part in “flattening the curve.”
To see how your region might be impacted by the virus, as well as whether your local hospitals appear to be ready to fight COVID-19, check out ProPublica’s full report and look up your region.