If the rapid spread of coronavirus in Israel continues at the same rate, the country could see over half a thousand patients in a serious condition in two-weeks' time, according to model projections developed by top Israeli hospital.
The COVID-19 forecast model developed by Ichilov Medical Center, projected that in two weeks Israel will have somewhere between 390 to 550 coronavirus patients in a serious condition if the contagion rate keeps its current pace.
The model was developed to help the country's hospital prepare for the second coronavirus wave and has already accurately predicted the increase in the number of serious cases on three occasions.
Two weeks ago, the model predicted the number of patients in a serious condition by this time will stand somwhere between 282 and 338. According to data provided by the Health Ministry on Sunday, the number has reached 311.
As a result, it has been adopted by newly-appointed coronavirus czar, CEO of Ichilov Medical Center Prof. Roni Gamzu, in the battle against the epidemic in the country.
"It is a model that looks retroactively at the connection between infection rate, new cases and serious patients reported a week later," explained Prof. Eli Sprecher, deputy head of research and development at Ichilov Medical Center.
"The model cannot predict the development of the infection over a period of months, but it can do so over a period of weeks. This usually provides the hospital with time to prepare for the arrival of new patients."
According to Prof. Sprecher, the model provides valuable information to help hospitals prepare, but not enough to solve the overload of coronavirus patients within the public health system.
"This pandemic is not one dimensional. The state needs to prepare for a variety of cases, not only patients in a serious condition," he said.
"HMOs are overburdened and there is a serious need for better epidemiolocal studies. We need to know how many people we need to investigate once a person is diagnosed as the virus carrier."
Prof. Sprecher added the forecast for the next two weeks is dependent on many other parameters, which the model cannot quantify, including the public's behavior and steps taken by the government to curb the spread of the virus.
"Personal discipline and adherence to social distancing are of the utmost importance," he explained.
"But," he added, "what is also needed is a large, efficient and mostly fast way of conducting epidemiological investigations. These two things are needed to keep improving the efforts in the battle against the virus."