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Coronavirus to peak in Wisconsin May 22, report says

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation data visualization

The coronavirus crisis will peak in Wisconsin around May 22, with about 1,350 people in the hospital and 13 people dying every day, and will last well into July, according to projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent global health research center at the University of Washington.

The projection assumes Wisconsin residents maintain social distancing, with schools and nonessential businesses closed and the governor’s “Safer at Home” order still in effect.

The projections indicate the number of people hospitalized by late May could be fewer than 100 or more than 3,000, with about 1,358 the most likely number.

With more than 5,000 hospital beds available, it would seem hospitals statewide will not be overrun with COVID19 cases, according to the projections. However, the projection does not take into account that nearly half of the state’s cases are in Milwaukee County.

The projections indicate that preventative measures taken in Wisconsin are successfully “flattening the curve,” avoiding a spike in cases that overwhelms the health care system, but only if those measures continue.

For example, the projections predict the state will not run into  hospital bed shortages plaguing places like New York, which the projections say will peak around April 11, with more than 42,000 people in the hospital — but only about 13,000 beds available.

It is possible that the state’s intensive care units could be overburdened, according to the projections, with 172 ICU beds available and over 200 needed at the peak in late May.

The projections indicate at least a few people would still require hospitalization as late as July 22.

Nationwide, the projection says the crisis will peak around April 14, with more than 230,000 in the hospital.

Wisconsin Bureau of Communicable Diseases Chief Medical Officer Ryan Westegaard said this week that to this point, about 20 percent of people who test positive require hospitalizations; if that ratio persists, there could be around 6,800 positive cases in Wisconsin on May 22 — and likely thousands of more cases that are never tested.

There are currently 1,055 positive cases.

The projection indicates Wisconsin is likely to suffer more than 850 deaths.

The projections are based on data from the federal and state governments, and the World Health Organization to create a four-month statistical model.