A doctor at a temporary field hospital in Washington, D.C. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

As the coronavirus really began to take hold in the U.S. earlier this year, experts warned that hospitals would soon be overrun with patients — but health systems never ran out of beds, even in New York City.

Between the lines: The hospitalization rate was much lower than predicted, ProPublica reports.

  • Data from Wuhan, China, suggested that about 20% of known coronavirus cases required hospitalization. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that for every person who died of the virus, more than 11 would be hospitalized. The real number is around four hospitalizations per death.
  • State hospitalization rates vary from 6% to more than 20%, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
  • In New York City, where around 20% of the adult population had coronavirus antibodies by mid-April, that translates to a hospitalization rate of about 2%, Nathaniel Hupert, an associate professor at Weill Cornell Medicine and co-director of the Cornell Institute for Disease and Disaster Preparedness, told ProPublica.

Worth noting: Hospitals also were good at increasing their number of beds. And the number of non-coronavirus patients was drastically reduced, both because elective care was postponed and some patients with other emergencies stayed home.

What we're watching: There were plenty of lessons learned from the first wave of the pandemic that can be applied going forward, particularly as the situation worsens in some states.

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Editor's note: The photo caption on this story has been corrected to note that it was taken in Washington, D.C. (not California).

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Updated 17 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Though health workers represent less than 3% of the population in many countries, they account for around 14% of the coronavirus cases reported to the World Health Organization, WHO announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The WHO called on governments and health care leaders to address threats facing the health and safety of these workers, adding that the pandemic has highlighted how protecting them is needed to ensure a functioning health care system.

Pandemic may drive up cancer cases and exacerbate disparities

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Doctors are concerned the coronavirus pandemic is going to lead to an uptick in cancer incidence and deaths — and exacerbate racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities seen with the disease.

Why it matters: The U.S. has made recent advances in lowering cancer deaths — including narrowing the gap between different race and ethnicities in both incidence and death rates. But the pandemic could render some of these advances moot.

Coronavirus cases increase in 17 states

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections ticked up slightly over the past week, thanks to scattered outbreaks in every region of the country.

Where it stands: The U.S. has been making halting, uneven progress against the virus since August. Overall, we're moving in the right direction, but we're often taking two steps forward and one step back.