COVID-19 March 14 Update

Without urgent action we will have tens of thousands more COVID-19 cases than we have beds, and we will have 1 ventilator for every 8 people who need one.

Andy Slavitt
Medium Coronavirus Blog
5 min readMar 14, 2020


By Andy Slavitt (Former Medicare, Medicaid, and ACA head for Obama)
Pulled from my
daily COVID-19 updates on Twitter.

Last night I was on with state and local officials around the US well into the night. By March 23 many of our largest cities and hospitals are on course to be overrun with cases. I am going to prepare a memo for them. I will share highlights here.

They are highly dependent on the public response so I will start there. We have no immunity to COVID-19, people who get it don’t know for a while, and for each person that gets it, they infect 2+ people.

You may have seen graphs that look like this. It shows how far behind Italy we are tracking in days & how our trajectory compares. The US and every country that hasn’t taken better preventive measures like S Korea & Japan is directly on course, lagging 2 weeks behind.

This is what it looks like in Italian hospitals. Every report describes this as a tsunami. And if it happens like a tsunami, in major cities we will have tens of thousands more cases than we have beds, and we will have 1 ventilator for every 8 people who need one.

What are mayors, governors & their staffs reporting? That people are jamming the bars. I get it. Home from work. Cooped up. Crisis mentality. We need to let steam off. Shared experience. But stop that. All the bars & restaurants are closed now across Europe.

The only way to prevent Italy given our lack of testing is to socially isolate. Congress even allocates money for people to stay home. That rarely happens. But we blew our chance at containment.

If you want to see a thread on how we got here and what to do as of 36 hours ago, I tried to be complete here. The thread does not contain predictions but frames the course experts think we’re on without action.