Texas Tribune: See how social distancing could reduce stress on - FOX34 Lubbock

Texas Tribune: See how social distancing could reduce stress on hospitals

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Texas Tribune story
BY MANDI CAI, CHRIS ESSIG AND DARLA CAMERON

New estimates from researchers at the University of Texas at Austin show how much social distancing it would take to “flatten the curve,” or spread out COVID-19 hospitalizations over time, in 22 Texas metro areas.

The research shows that even if all Texans reduce contact with people outside their households by half, it still wouldn’t be enough to stem a surge of hospitalizations that would overwhelm medical capacity in metro areas this spring and summer.

But Lauren Ancel Meyers, a UT-Austin professor of integrative biology and statistics, projects that extreme social distancing measures — cutting social interactions by at least 90% — could meaningfully flatten the curve.

Experts caution that such predictive models should be taken with a grain of salt, given how much circumstances vary on the ground and the lack of testing, making it difficult to measure the extent of the virus' spread so far. And while the charts below are based on 2019 Texas Department of State Health Services hospital capacity data, officials have been adding hospital beds in facilities across the state in response to the pandemic.

The researchers’ estimates are current as of April 1, one day after Gov. Greg Abbott ordered all Texans to stay at home for the next month unless they are taking part in essential services and activities. Texas schools are closed until at least May 4, but the researchers’ estimates assume that schools will not reopen until the 2020-21 school year begins in August.

In the linked story below you can look up one of 22 Texas metro areas to see how school closures and different levels of social distancing would impact coronavirus hospitalizations there. The estimates consider hypothetical scenarios based on whether residents reduce contact with people outside their households by 0%50%75% or 90%.

Click here - for the full story and to see model projections for metro areas, including Lubbock.

 

 

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