Coronavirus model projects Massachusetts peak in coming weeks as Boston reports only 1% of hospital beds open

Massachusetts is approaching a coronavirus peak in the coming weeks, a widely used model suggests as Boston hospitalization data worsens.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which has periodically updated its much-cited dashboard throughout the pandemic, projects that the Bay State would have hit its peak number of daily infections around Jan. 2, and then the numbers — even under situations the model accounts for in which most restrictions are relaxed — will shrink dramatically by early May.

The peaks for hospitalizations and deaths lag a bit behind, both likely to peak right around the start of February, according to the data from IMHE, which is based out of the University of Washington in Seattle.

The model anticipates hospital use peaking around Jan. 28, when total beds, intensive-care-unit beds and ventilators all will be at their peaks before then decreasing, per the IMHE. Deaths would then peak a couple of days later.

The peaks for all of those stats — infections, deaths and hospital use — will happen around the same time as the country on the whole.

The model estimates that about 83% of people are wearing masks in public, which is up a bit from a dip back in August, when the IMHE pegged usage as below 70%. The IMHE says the Bay State is a bit better than the country on average, which it puts at a 76% mark currently.

Boston’s semi-weekly report shows increasingly full hospital beds, though the positive test rate shows signs of creeping downward.

Only 1% of Boston adult hospital beds are open, according to the report, released Saturday. The numbers for hospital bed use have been trending upward for a month, and crossed the city’s “threshold for concern” of 95% on Jan. 5.

The proportion of ICU beds empty in Boston remained at 12%, where it’s been for several days after a slow but steady decline in the number available. It passed the threshold for concern 35 days ago.

Boston’s positive test rate experienced a recent peak at the start of the month when it hit a seven-day average of 8.1%. According to the most recent data fully available — which is a week old, as it always is in these reports — the positive test rate is now at 7.6%, though preliminary data for a few more recent days suggests a continued downward trend as testing increases after the holidays.

Authorities continue to roll out the vaccination effort. In Massachusetts, health care workers, first responders and seniors in congregate settings are among those eligible in this first phase.

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