Short-term forecasts of healthcare demand for countries in the early stage of COVID-19 epidemics

COVID-19 is currently causing large-scale outbreaks in many countries, particularly in Europe and Asia where many countries have experienced a level of healthcare demand that have placed health systems under strain. In response, countries have implemented large-scale non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing measures and the closure of schools, businesses and meeting places. Meanwhile there are many countries, particularly Lower or Middle Income countries (LMICs) (shown below) which, as a likely function of global movement patterns, are at an earlier stage of the epidemic and major healthcare demand and mortality are yet to be reported. There are a total of 140 countries who have reported less than 100 COVID-19 deaths, with 100 where the total COVID-19 deaths also represents less than 10/million of their population.

The following short-term forecasts are designed to provide these countries with an indication of where they are in their epidemic in terms of the likely number of infections within their country and the short-term future trajectory. We present two-week trajectories of the number of individuals likely to require hospitalisation and the expected number of patients requiring high-pressure oxygen or mechanical ventilation in order to survive. These reports will be updated daily using the latest publicly available data on COVID-19 from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. These reports will aim to help countries understand:

1. The total number of COVID-19 infections

2. The expected number of deaths within the next 14 days

3. The number of individuals requiring oxygen or mechanical ventilation in the next 14 days

4. The impact of changing their current intervention policy

For further guidance and questions about the methodology and caveats, please see the Frequently Asked Questions