UT Austin researchers project 92% chance all area ICU beds fill by September

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found a more than nine in 10 chance that a school with 100 in-person students would have a student come to school infected with COVID-19 on the first day of classes. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found a more than nine in 10 chance that a school with 100 in-person students would have a student come to school infected with COVID-19 on the first day of classes. (Community Impact Newspaper)

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found a more than nine in 10 chance that a school with 100 in-person students would have a student come to school infected with COVID-19 on the first day of classes. (Community Impact Newspaper)

A new report from University of Texas at Austin researchers found there is greater than a nine-in-10 chance that the Austin metro’s 200 ICU beds will reach capacity by the end of August.

Researchers also found that, if transmission does not slow, a school with 100 in-person students would have a 94% chance that at least one student would arrive infected on the first day of school.

Moderate compliance with masking and social distancing would reduce the risk of an infected student arriving on the first day 37%, while high compliance would reduce that risk by 55%, the report said.

“The projections demonstrate the immediate need for heightened social distancing and transmission reducing-precautions within schools and throughout Austin,” the report says.

The researchers from the university’s COVID-19 Modeling Consortium used COVID-19 hospitalization data from March 13, 2020 to July 28, 2021 in the Austin metro—including Travis, Hays, Williamson, Bastrop and Caldwell counties—to project hospitalizations through November 2021.


The model factored in the Delta variant, the ongoing rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, the start of the 2021-22 school year and different possible levels of social distancing and mask usage across Austin and in schools.

Nine researchers collaborated on the report, led by Spencer J. Fox, Associate Director of the university’s COVID-19 Modeling Consortium and Michael Lachmann, a professor of biology at Santa Fe Institute.
By Maggie Quinlan

Reporter, Southwest Austin/Dripping Springs

Maggie joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July 2021 after a year spent covering crime, courts and politics at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, near the border with Idaho. In Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs, Maggie covers education, business, healthcare, transportation, real estate development and nonprofits. Prior to CI, she graduated from Washington State University, where she was managing editor of the student newspaper and a section editor at her hometown newspaper based in Moscow, Idaho. Maggie dreamed of living in the Austin area for years and feels honored to serve the communities of Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs.



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