Hospital load and increased COVID-19 related mortality in Israel

Hagai Rossman, Tomer Meir, Jonathan Somer, Smadar Shilo, Rom Gutman, Asaf Ben Arie, Eran Segal, Uri Shalit, Malka Gorfine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The spread of Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) has led to many healthcare systems being overwhelmed by the rapid emergence of new cases. Here, we study the ramifications of hospital load due to COVID-19 morbidity on in-hospital mortality of patients with COVID-19 by analyzing records of all 22,636 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Israel from mid-July 2020 to mid-January 2021. We show that even under moderately heavy patient load (>500 countrywide hospitalized severely-ill patients; the Israeli Ministry of Health defined 800 severely-ill patients as the maximum capacity allowing adequate treatment), in-hospital mortality rate of patients with COVID-19 significantly increased compared to periods of lower patient load (250-500 severely-ill patients): 14-day mortality rates were 22.1% (Standard Error 3.1%) higher (mid-September to mid-October) and 27.2% (Standard Error 3.3%) higher (mid-December to mid-January). We further show this higher mortality rate cannot be attributed to changes in the patient population during periods of heavier load.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1904
Pages (from-to)1904
Number of pages7
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 26 Mar 2021


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Epidemics
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality/trends
  • Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals/statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Israel/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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