A recent study published in the academic journal The BMJ by the University of California, Berkeley and others found that patients with new coronary pneumonia in the United States spend longer in hospital than in China and have a higher rate of admission to intensive care units (ICUs). The researchers believe the results suggest that U.S. hospitals may be more severely affected by the new coronary outbreak than expected.
Previously, many projections of the burden of new coronary pneumonia disease were based on Chinese data, particularly the number of beds required and the number of intensive care units required at the peak of the outbreak. Joseph Lewnard, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study, said they found that Chinese observations may not provide a sufficient basis for predicting U.S. medical needs.
The study, entitled “Case, outcome clinicals, and transmission dynamics of corona virus 2019 in in and California: prospective cohort study,” is published in the British Medical Journal on 22 May.
Clinical characteristics of patients admitted to new coronary pneumonia before April 9, 2020
Joseph Lewnard and his co-authors collected anonymous medical records from nearly 960 people in Southern California, Northern California and Washington state, and found 1,277 samples of patients hospitalized for confirmed new crowns by April 9, 2020.
They found that 42 percent of the 1,277 patients hospitalized for new coronary pneumonia were admitted to the intensive care unit and 18 percent died of new coronary pneumonia. Models based on Chinese data often assume that only about 30% of inpatients need to be admitted to intensive care units.
Data collected by Joseph Lewnard et al. also showed that the average length of hospitalization for patients recovering from new coronary pneumonia and 13.7 days in patients who died were 10.7 and 13.7 days, respectively, while the average length of hospitalization for new coronary deaths in China was 7.5 days. In addition, 25 percent of the patients in the study were hospitalized for 16 days or more. By contrast, a widely cited Imperial College London model assumes that new crown patients spend an average of eight days in hospital.
Distribution of hospital length of patients with new coronary pneumonia
It is not clear what causes the average length of length of stay and the high percentage of these patients in intensive care units. But the authors stress that data needs to be collected in different regions and in different medical settings and that models based on data from other countries should not be relied on too much.
Vincent Liu, co-author of the study, said the spread of new coronary pneumonia and its impact on local health systems are different around the world, and that the capabilities and structure of the local health care system may affect local outbreak prevention and control.
The researchers also found that the spread of the new coronavirus has begun to decline since late March, which they believe may be due to a small range of social distance measures. Still, the authors warn that things cannot be expected to return to normal. “These data suggest that if we release all the relief measures at once, the disease will spread rapidly again,” said author Vincent Liu.