NZ ICU capacity

Newsroom reports:

The maths is bleak. According to data from overseas outbreaks, around 5 percent of people who test positive for Covid-19 end up requiring intensive care. What percentage of the general population will catch the virus is anybody’s guess – forecasts vary from 20 percent of the global population to as high as 50 or 70 percent in some countries.

Our population is 4.8 million. 20% of that is 960,000 and 70% is 3.36 million.

If 5% need intensive care that is between 48,000 and 168,000.

These forecasts also assume the virus will continue to spread, perhaps seasonally, for at least the next 18 months, if not longer. This makes calculating the needed intensive care capacity – not to mention capacity for other resources, such as general hospital beds and active medical staff – exceedingly difficult.

Nonetheless, New Zealand’s stock of intensive care units – just 176 beds – doesn’t inspire confidence, David Galler says. Galler has been an intensive care specialist at Middlemore Hospital for more than three decades.

Let’s assume best case scenario and only 48,000 need intensive care and we can spread it over 18 months. And also assume each person only needs to be there for two weeks and we flatten the curve entirely. So highly optimistic assumptions.

In 18 months you have around 36 two week periods. So for each two week period you need 1,333 beds and we have 176.

And that is the optimistic scenario.

The pessimistic one is 70% get infected and they stay in for four weeks each. That means 9,333 people needing a ICU bed every four weeks.

In the optimistic scenario 13% of those needing ICU beds get one. In the pessimistic scenario 2% get one.

So we need more ICU beds, and soon.

I heard a good suggestion yesterday.

The cruise ship industry is now dead for six months or more. Why don’t we lease a cruise ship and turn it into a dedicated floating hospital for treatment?

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