IHME Model Lowers U.S. Coronavirus Death Projections

Henrietta Brewer
April 7, 2020

So, why did the model's forecast change so much?

Among the several states hard hit by the virus, Murray called out New York, New Jersey, and CT as a "national hot spot", representing 37.6% of the 81,766 cumulative deaths predicted nationally.

"Our projections are strengthened by the new downturns in more regions", IHME director Dr. Christopher Murray said in a release.

Peak deaths are now projected to take place on April 16, 2020.

But if true, it will be a terrifying pinnacle for the Empire State - with a predicted 878 deaths that day.

Data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) was recently updated.

The model also helped inform a projection made by Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the task for and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, that the country would face "a best case scenario" of 100,000 to 200,000 coronavirus deaths.

In New York, the number of new cumulative coronavirus hospitalizations increased from 2,449 on Thursday to 2,879 on Friday, declined slightly to 2,787 on Saturday, then declined further to 1,709 on Sunday. IHME is now forecasting a total of 442 coronavirus-related fatalities in the Palmetto State (with a potential low of 305 deaths and a potential high of 645 deaths).

The IHME model previously expected roughly 120,000 to 430,000 hospital beds would be needed on April 16, a mean of 262,092 beds, along with a mean of 39,727 ICU beds and 31,782 ventilators. Approximately 20 percent of patients in NY state, which has the most patients in intensive care, recover from the disease after being placed on a ventilator.

Though the update of the model appears to be good news, at least for now, Murray counseled caution.

But the latest IHME model predicts a demand for only 1,232 hospital beds on April 15 as a result of the stay-at-home order, well below the 7,812 beds now available.

By May 8, the daily death count will be zero, the institute says.

The revised forecasts reflect "a massive infusion of new data" from New York, Massachusetts Georgia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida and California, Murray said.

"These projections are vital to health planners, policymakers, and anyone else associated with caring for those affected by and infected with the coronavirus", he said. Lee and the Trump administration issued new projections for the coronavirus impact inTennessee late Sunday, significantly lowering earlier projections. "This is evidence that social distancing is crucial". Of those, an estimated 10,522 had died as result of being exposed to it - including 4,758 coronavirus-related fatalities in NY. The advisory prompted a number of governors to either extend social distancing mandates or recommendations and others to announce stay at home orders for the first time.

Despite the more positive outlook in some places, Murray said it's important that social distancing measures remain in place to prevent a resurgence in cases.

"As we noted previously, the trajectory of the pandemic will change - and dramatically for the worse - if people ease up on social distancing or relax with other precautions".

"But I think we are still in the rising days of this pandemic and we need to keep our guard up and we need to be prepared".

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