‘Deadline of just 10 days’ before ICU beds run out
Australia could run out of ICU beds to treat coronavirus patients in as few as 10 days if infections continue to rise at the current rate of exponential growth.
A study in the Medical Journal of Australia says Australia’s COVID-19 mortality rate could be as high as Italy’s unless measures are taken to slow the spread.
Epidemiologists say it is still too early to assess whether socialdistancing measures have had any impact on Australia’s curve of infections, but if the measures do not slow the rate of growth in cases, mortality rates here could climb to in excess of 5 per cent.
In the MJA study, anaesthetist Hamish Meares and Macquarie University biostatistician Michael Jones calculate that, based on Australia’s current intensive care unit bed capacity of about 2200, hospitals would be overwhelmed once infections hit 22,000, although hospitals are preparing to double their ICU bed capacity. “The model’s predictions are broadly supported by data from Italy and suggest Australian hospitals do not have capacity to accommodate possible demand.”