UAB researchers predict 7,800 Covid-19 hospitalizations by next month

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 11:11 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UAB researchers predict the latest COVID-19 surge to peak in the beginning of September and estimates cases to go well beyond last winter’s peak of around 3,000 hospitalizations.

“These are scary numbers,” UAB epidemiologist Dr. Suzanne Judd said. “These are much worse than we’ve seen in the past.”

Judd is comparing Alabama’s daily cases to the state’s southern cases, India’s cases, and the U.K.’s.

Judd said we are in between southern Alabama’s path, where COVID is the worst in the state, and India’s.

“If we stay on the southern Alabama path, within two weeks, statewide we will end up with 13,000 cases a day,” Judd said.

Judd said that means one and four people will be sick with COVID-19 on a given day.

“That will translate to somewhere between 7,800 and 8,000 hospitalizations, which is nearly double what we experienced last January,” Judd said.

These projections are based on human behavior, like large gatherings, mask wearing and vaccinations. Judd said things could take a turn in any way, but the next two to three weeks are a critical with kids going back to school.

“I’m going to really be watching these cases that might occur as schools restart and as universities restart,” Judd said.

“If we truly end up with the number of Covid cases that are projected in two to three weeks, then that means our hospitals are not going to have enough beds to care for these patients,” UAB’s Dr. Sarah Nafziger said.

Without the hospital beds to accommodate the projected numbers, Nafziger said emergency services could no longer be an option.

“We have really been following these projection lines and if this comes to pass, we are going to get to the point where emergency services aren’t available,” Nafziger said.

Dr. Nafziger said if we get to Dr. Judd’s projections, UAB will start considering conference rooms, hallways, and alternative care sites for space.

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