A new study shows that hospitalizations, ventilators, and other health resources that patients would require could cost the United States $654 billion if 80% of the population gets infected with COVID-19.
With the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, one of the major concerns is the burden COVID-19 will impose on the U.S. health care system.
The authors of this study developed a Monte Carlo simulation model representing the U.S. population and what can happen to each person who gets infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2). In order to understand the potential economic benefits of reducing the burden of the disease, they estimated resource use and direct medical costs (per infection and at the national level) with various infection rates.
They found that, even when only considering the costs during the acute infection and not the costs of follow-up care after the infection, the direct medical costs of a symptomatic COVID-19 case tend to be substantially higher than other common infectious diseases.
Specifically, their models show that a single symptomatic COVID-19 infection would cost a median of $3,045 in direct medical costs incurred only during the course of the infection. Eighty percent of the U.S. population getting infected could result in a median of 44.6 million hospitalizations, 10.7 million ICU admissions, 6.5 million ventilators used, and 249.5 million hospital bed days, costing $654.0 billion in direct costs over the course of the pandemic.
If 20% were to become infected, there would be a median of 11.2 million hospitalizations, 62.3 million hospital bed days, and 1.6 million ventilators used, costing $163.4 billion.