Data-driven COVID-19 care

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In late January, during the worst of the pandemic's winter surge, infectious diseases specialist Matthew Robinson pulled two extra 11-hour overnight shifts caring for several dozen people hospitalized with COVID-19. Soon after arriving at 9:30 p.m., he logged into a novel computer program he helped develop and—in an instant—real-time clinical data on every coronavirus patient on the ward flashed across the screen.

A colored circle with a number in it appeared next to the name of each patient. Most of the circles were yellow or green, with low numbers. But a handful were bright orange or red, with uncomfortably high numbers. Robinson knew those were the ones he had to worry about. The colors and percentages within them show the probability that a hospitalized COVID-19 patient will become severely ill or die, either within the next 24 hours or the coming week. Yellow or green circles mean the risk is moderate to low, while orange or red circles signal danger.