Do you have COVID-19 questions? Our scientists have answers.

How many people will get sick with COVID-19?

National and international organizations are working on models to estimate the number of people who will get sick, but the situation is changing rapidly. It is possible that models will underestimate the number of sick individuals because those with mild symptoms will not seek medical attention, and researchers use different methods to attempt to account for that.

In February, scenarios from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projected that between 160 million and 214 million people in the US could be infected over the course of the epidemic, and that as many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could ultimately die. And, the calculations based on the CDC’s scenarios suggested, 2.4 million to 21 million people in the US could require hospitalization, which would overburden our medical system.

However, the CDC’s projected numbers did not account for steps that are being taken to slow COVID-19 spread, which is why it is critical that everyone begin intensive social distancing immediately - as much as possible, limit contact with people outside your family.

Drafted 20 March 2020

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