The hospital system in New Mexico is likely to be significantly overburdened by Covid-19 patients, very soon, if social distancing does not sufficiently slow down the spread of the highly infectious virus, according to an analysis by ProPublica of data released by the Harvard Global Health Institute.

ProPublica utilized the institute's  data to create maps by region showing the potential burden on hospitals under different scenarios based on the percentage of population that contracts the virus and the length of time over which those infections occur.

Last week, New Mexico In Depth reported that just 54 of 344 state licensed intensive care unit beds were available as the outbreak in New Mexico was just beginning.  The ProPublica hospital bed projections for Albuquerque and El Paso regions suggest 344 intensive care beds won't be near enough, even if they were all empty and ready for Covid-19 patients.

Here are charts showing hospital beds in short supply for all scenarios other than the most favorable, in which fewer people get sick over a longer period of time.

In both the Albuquerque region, which includes Santa Fe, Farmington and Gallup, and the El Paso region, which includes Las Cruces, the HHI data shows that under most scenarios, more hospital beds in general will be needed to care for sick people as the virus begins to spread more widely. The only scenario under which the regions won't exceed 100% hospital bed capacity is if just 20% of the population comes down with the virus, over 18 months.

Read the ProPublica story and search their hospital bed projections by region.

This story was first published on New Mexico in Depth.