Covid-19 – are there enough critical care beds?

March 11, 2020 • Reading time 1 minute

Following on from earlier analysis we have modelled additional scenarios for Covid-19. In summary:

  • The current growth of COVID19 is exponential in the UK at a rate of 1.17 per day – this is slightly less than Italy, but because the growth is exponential the number of cases will start to rise sharply if there are no mitigating factors
  • There remains a lot of uncertainty about the speed of the spread, how many people are likely to become infected, and how many of those will be severely or critical ill
  • Under a scenario where there are mitigations that reduce the speed of the spread of the disease, there would still be a significant requirement on beds and especially beds with respirators in England of 65,000 and 11,000 respectively
  • It is clear from the modelling that the biggest pressure is on beds with respirators, which is in line with the experience in Italy and China – in a reasonable scenario there may need to be 30,000 beds with respirators by the end of June, which is x7.5 the number of critical care beds currently in England (see chart below)

We have updated our summary analysis here with additional information on our modelling.


Edge Health are a specialist UK healthcare analytics consultancy that use data and insights to improve the delivery of health and care services, so that better outcomes can be delivered more efficiently.