April 7, 2020 / SEAN MCMINN
As COVID-19 surges in places throughout the country, Americans are left to wonder, “When will my state hit its worst point?”
A widely cited model offers some predictions. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s COVID-19 projections were cited in recent White House briefings and take into account how the pandemic is playing out in several countries around the world. They incorporate the current trend line of deaths in U.S. states and the estimated impact of social distancing measures to predict when each state might reach peak daily deaths and hospital usage.
While projections like these are imprecise, they’re useful to policymakers and hospital leaders trying to prepare for surges. The model was designed to give hospitals an idea of how quickly they need to expand capacity and by how much.
Researchers at IHME make frequent updates to the model based on newly available data, and some of those changes have resulted in drastic shifts. The latest major update, made Sunday, shows fewer people dying over a shorter period of time, the model’s lead researcher Chris Murray says.
However, he cautioned that when social distancing measures lift, outbreaks could spark up again.