UT-Southwestern Forecasting Model Predicts Surge In COVID-19 Hospitalizations | KERA News

UT-Southwestern Forecasting Model Predicts Surge In COVID-19 Hospitalizations

Jun 22, 2020

As COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations continue to record-breaking highs in North Texas, a UT- Southwestern model predicts a 20% jump in hospitalizations over the next two weeks.

Dr. Mujeeb Basit, assistant professor of internal medicine and cardiology, said the spike in numbers over the last two weeks has been “trending upwards alarmingly.” 

“This trend is particularly alarming because the intervention that we can do on this information is not immediate," he said. "If we are to make policy changes today, the impact of those policy changes won't occur for at least a week."

The recent growth has been fueled by an increase in younger people — especially those between 21 and 40 years old — who are testing positive and being hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Basit said before June, most people requiring hospitalization were over the age of 50. Now, he said, the trend is skewing younger. 

“We're now seeing 30-35 year olds in there,” he said. “They're now representing an increased proportion of the people who are requiring hospitalization, and also requiring ICU care and ventilation.” 

Looking ahead, the UT-Southwestern officials reported that cases will continue to rise through the summer and fall if community members fail to increase compliance with preventive measures like social distancing.

Hospitalizations jumped after Easter and Memorial Day, so officials say North Texans should be cautious during upcoming July Fourth celebrations.

The last 10 days have all seen record numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations. As of Sunday, there were 3,409 patients in Texas hospitals with the coronavirus. The state has also seen record numbers in daily new COVID-19 cases, with 4,430 cases reported on Saturday — the largest single-day increase to date. 

In a news conference on Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott said COVID-19 was now spreading at "an unacceptable rate in Texas and it must be corralled.”

Correction: Dr. Mujeeb Basit's first name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.