Ajay Suresh / Wikimedia Commons

Hupert's work, based out of Weill Cornell Medicine (pictured above) will help inform state policy.

April 23, 2020

Overcrowded Hospitals: How Weill’s Epidemic Modeling Tool Tackles Coronavirus Surge

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Hospitals across the country are overwhelmed with the surge of admitted patients and a shortage of medical supplies.

Weill Cornell Medicine’s Prof. Nathaniel Hupert, population health sciences and medicine, developed an epidemic modeling tool to minimize the potential of overwhelmed hospitals.

Hupert’s model, the Cornell COVID Caseload Calculator C5V, is a simulation program that estimates the rate at which infected patients will be hospitalized and the virus’ potential impact on hospitals and local health care systems.

The data predicts when hospitals will receive the most patients in order to inform them what measures need to be taken to handle or prevent any overcrowding.

Hupert said, in a press release, he hopes the modeling tool will “better prepare hospitals to care for the oncoming waves of patients affected by this pandemic, but also help health planners and political leaders find a way out of the need for social distancing and other lockdown procedures.”

With many states’ shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders set to expire by May 1, some plan to reopen as soon as April 21.

Hupert is currently working with Prof. Lisa White, modeling and epidemiology, University of Oxford, and CoMo Collaborative — a platform based in the United Kingdom that advocates for environmentally friendly transportation — to expand the current modeling tool with country-specific live data on coronavirus cases from hospitals.

The updated model will detail how lifting restrictions on social interaction could influence further disease spread and increase demands on regional health care systems.

According to Weill’s website, the 152-country pandemic model will soon be released online.

Hupert previously worked for the U.S. federal government on the Ebola 2014 outbreak, where he helped build models to predict how medical treatment facilities could handle the outbreak.

“Dr. Nathaniel Hupert has dedicated his career to disaster preparedness,” said Dr. Rainu Kaushal, chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences and senior associate dean for clinical research at Weill Cornell Medicine, in the press release.

“He is applying decades of knowledge to this moment in history to help us understand and rapidly plan for this pandemic,” Kaushal said. “I am proud of his remarkable contributions to assist people across the world, especially New Yorkers.”