Thursday, March 19, 2020

Are We Screwed No Matter What?

The chart below is from a WaPo article, from that UK report that came out last weekend. You can see why it scared Trump into action and why all the sudden calls for social distancing. But the US is still in big trouble -- hospitals are going to be overwhelmed.

If I'm understanding this correctly, even with all the precautions the US is now taking, we're looking at needing 100 "acute care beds" per 100,000 people at a peak around October 1st. That's 330,000 needed acute care beds, all at once. But there are only about 100,000 ICU beds in the United States:

There's also less than 100,000 ventilators, with an uneven distribution around the country.

So there will be one established ICU bed for every 3.3 people who need one. That's if we keep social distancing going until a vaccine is available. Through the summer.

Yet I haven't heard or read about Trump saying anything about the great shortage of beds we're going to have. Maybe I missed it, or maybe they're all too focused, at least for now, on the economy.

This conclusion is hardly unique. But it hits home to me much more when I do the calculation for myself.


Ned said...

The DJIA (US stock index) is down 34% from its February peak. Over the past three weeks it's fallen at a rate of 438 points (1.5% of its peak value) per day:

nifty chart

Note that the Y-axis starts at zero...

One week ago, after a day when the market had temporarily bounced back up, Trump was autographing printouts of the bounce, and David in Cal explained that the bounce was because "enormous progress is being made" on the coronavirus response:

"The core message [of Trump's 13 March press conference] was that enormous progress is being made. That's why the stock market rocketed up.

"If the stock market drops [significantly] again next week, I think that will that mean Friday's 'enormous progress' was mostly illusory."

Now we've had another week of trading. The DJIA is down another 10% below the starting point for the "enormous progress" bounce.

I do think we are making some progress, but it's lackluster at best and weeks later than it should have happened. The loss of life and economic damage from this are going to be far worse than they needed to be. We cannot afford this reality-TV president now.

Ned said...

Here's the chart with Trump's autograph, lined up with the longer term data: