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Vanderbilt research shows COVID-19 hospitalization peak could hit mid-June

Posted at 6:38 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 23:17:55-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — New models from Vanderbilt University Medical Center say if conditions remain the same in Tennessee, the state will see its peak in hospitalizations in mid-June.

During an online news conference on Friday, researchers explained the newest models and scenarios for the future of COVID-19 in Tennessee. Unlike other models that use information from other countries who have experience the virus, the Vanderbilt models use date from the Tennessee Department of Health and are created specifically for the state.

During the presentation, the researchers gave three scenarios for the coming months. The data said if social distancing restrictions, which had been put in place on both local and state levels, were removed too early, hospitals could easily be overwhelmed with the number of cases.

The research focused mainly on transmissions numbers, or the average number of people one patient infects with COVID-19. Before social distancing measures were put into place in the Nashville area, that number was at five. That number had dropped to 1.4 as of Friday. Researchers said if that state's transmission number remains the same, Tennessee will see its peak in hospitalizations in mid-June. They also warned that the peak could still put a stress on the state's healthcare system.

Researchers went on to say that if the transmission number were to drop further, possibly due to added restrictions, the peak for hospitalizations would come a month earlier in mid-May.

Tennessee currently has more than 4,000 cases in Tennessee, which researchers say could have been sparked by as few as 10 patients six weeks ago. Meaning, it won't take much for our current conditions to see a large resurgence in cases across the state.

Because of that, researchers warn if social distancing regulations are relaxed too early, hospitals could easily become overwhelmed.