Coronavirus hospitalizations have declined in many states — another indication that social distancing has been effective at curbing the virus’ spread, Axios’ Bob Herman reports.
Why it matters: Hospitalizations are an important metric to watch to gauge the severity of the outbreak, especially because testing shortfalls have skewed some other measurements.
- Those numbers aren’t falling everywhere, and any approach to reopening needs to be carefully managed to prevent them spiking yet again.
Between the lines: Hospitals need to report this data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention daily, but we still don’t have real-time numbers, due in part to the failures of the country’s electronic health data infrastructure.
- However, some researchers — including those at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and the COVID Tracking Project — are tabulating data from state health departments.
What the data show: Among the 40 states that have consistently provided data, COVID-19 hospitalizations are taking up a smaller percentage of all occupied hospital beds in many states, including hotspots like Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.
- No more than 25% of hospital beds in any state are occupied by coronavirus patients.
Yes, but: Hospitalization rates aren’t dropping, and in some cases are rising, in several states, including Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico and Virginia.
- The aggregate hospitalization rate of 14 states monitored by the CDC also appears to still be cresting.
What’s next: Hospitalizations are a lagging indicator of infection, because it takes a while for people to feel sick and seek care — so the coming weeks will provide a clearer picture of whether some states and hospitals are getting hammered again.