Coronavirus disease model to inform transmission reducing measures and health system preparedness, Australia
Robert Moss, James Wood, Damien Brown, Freya Shearer, Andrew J Black, Allen Cheng, James M McCaw, Jodie McVernon.
Emerging Infectious Diseases, Volume 26, number 12–December 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2612.202530
The ability of health systems to cope with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases is of major concern. In preparation, we used clinical pathway models to estimate healthcare requirements for COVID-19 patients in the context of broader public health measures in Australia. An age- and risk-stratified transmission model of COVID-19 demonstrated that an unmitigated epidemic would dramatically exceed the capacity of the health system of Australia over a prolonged period. Case isolation and contact quarantine alone are insufficient to constrain healthcare needs within feasible levels of expansion of health sector capacity. Overlaid social restrictions must be applied over the course of the epidemic to ensure systems do not become overwhelmed and essential health sector functions, including care of COVID-19 patients, can be maintained. Attention to the full pathway of clinical care is needed, along with ongoing strengthening of capacity.