Leaked AHA webinar slide shows US hospitals bracing for 96 million coronavirus cases

A February webinar hosted by the American Hospital Association shows that the U.S. healthcare system expects huge spikes in new coronavirus cases in the U.S., according to slides of the presentation obtained by Business Insider.

The webinar, titled "What Healthcare Leaders Need To Know: Preparing for the COVID-19," was presented by representatives from the National Ebola Training and Education Center Feb. 26. The center includes faculty and staff from Atlanta-based Emory University, Omaha-based University of Nebraska Medical Center/Nebraska Medicine and NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue in New York City.

On one slide, James Lawler, MD, an associate professor University of Nebraska Medical Center, estimated the effect of the virus' nationwide spread. He predicted 96 million cases overall, 4.8 million hospitalizations and 480,000 deaths. The slide does not mention a time frame within which this may happen.

Hospitals should "prepare for disease burden roughly 10 times severe flu season," the slide warns.

The numbers reflect Dr. Lawler's interpretation of the data available at the time, a Nebraska Medicine spokesperson told Business Insider.

"It's possible that forecast will change as more information becomes available," the spokesperson said.

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