A pedestrian wearing scarf walks along a street in New York, the United States, March 16, 2020. The number of COVID-19 cases in United States has topped 4,600 as of Monday night, an increase of more than 1,000 in the past 24 hours, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
A pedestrian wearing scarf walks along a street in New York, the United States, March 16, 2020. The number of COVID-19 cases in United States has topped 4,600 as of Monday night, an increase of more than 1,000 in the past 24 hours, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

A new study published on Friday suggests that COVID-19 will likely overwhelm the existing critical care capacity in the United States.

Policies are urgently needed to expand intensive care unit (ICU) capacity and encourage self-isolation, according to the study, published on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study suggests that existing critical care capacity in the United States may be insufficient to meet the demand created by COVID-19, as community transmission is expected to dramatically increase demand for critical care facilities.

Using a model of COVID-19 transmission that incorporates U.S. population demographics, researchers led by Alison Galvani of Yale School of Public Health, and Burton Singer of Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, projected future COVID-19-associated demand for ICU beds in the United States.

The authors projected that in the absence of self-isolation, treating all critically ill cases at the height of the outbreak would require nearly 300,000 ICU beds, or three times the number of existing ICU beds in the country.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has topped over 261,438 as of 15:00 Friday, with over 6,699 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Enditem

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