University of Pittsburgh Plans to Update its Model Forecasting Coronavirus Outbreak

State sees lower rate of hospitalizations than China, according to PA Secretary of Health

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Secretary of State Dr. Rachel Levine says the answer to when we might see a peak in COVID-19 cases is complex, as we don’t yet know how it will impact Pennsylvania’s health care system.

University of Pittsburgh’s School of Public Health and the state Department of Health have been working together on a model that predicts coronavirus outbreak outcomes.

At a Tuesday press conference, Dr. Rachel Levine compared forecasting coronavirus to forecasting weather. While a meteorologist may use models to predict forthcoming storms, changes in wind direction or temperature can mean the difference between mountains of snow or a small flurry.

Trying to model disease is quite complex. Levine notes there are many factors that play into how a disease is spread, the effects of social distancing, and the percent of people who have to be hospitalized.

In Pennsylvania, roughly 10 percent of those who test positive for COVID are hospitalized, with data consistent from across the country. This current rate is lower than the China hospitalization rate, says Dr. Levine. This data will change how models are now read.

“We’re working with the University of Pittsburgh and they’re updating some of the information in their model and we are waiting for those results,” Levine says.

The impact of Gov. Wolf’s mitigation efforts still hasn’t been seen, and this could “significantly impact the models.”

“What we do know: if we do not stay home and stay safe, we will see the worst case scenario in all of these models, including the potential overwhelming of our health care systems,” says Levine.

The stay-at-home order has been issued in many counties, including Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Somerset, and more.

For more coronavirus coverage, read below:

March 21, 2023
Brandee Robles
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