A University of Washington coronavirus model used by the White House has been updated for the second time in under a week—and increased its death toll prediction an additional 10%, to over 74,000—as some states begin to reopen businesses.
Dr. Deborah Birx speaks about coronavirus during the March 31, 2020 briefing that featured the … [+]
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Created by the University’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the model includes mortality data from Johns Hopkins University along with data from the World Health Organization and governments across the world.
The new increase in deaths is due to states seeing flatter and longer epidemic peaks, according to the University, along with death rates falling more slowly.
The Institute’s director, Chris Murray, told CNN Monday night that “We’re also seeing signs in the mobility data that people are getting more active, and that’s also feeding into our assessment.”
New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Connecticut and Texas are the five states forecast to have the biggest increase in deaths in the model’s update.
The update also says seven states are peaking in COVID-19 deaths or will experience longer peaks in the coming weeks: Hawaii, Mississippi, Texas, Wyoming, Nebraska and North Dakota.
Among states that have relaxed restrictions, Georgia reopened restaurant dining rooms Monday (and 330 Waffle House locations resumed serving customers) but many owners there feel it’s too early or unsafe to do so.
“Our forecast now is for 74,000 deaths. That’s our best estimate,” Murray told CNN. “The range is pretty wide because there’s a lot of unknown factors there, but our best estimate is going up, and we see these protracted, long peaks in some states.”
21. That’s how many states have eased restrictions, according to CBS This Morning. The network reported that some states, like Texas, have loosened restrictions despite not meeting federal guidance on declines of COVID-19 cases.
The University’s previous model update, from April 22, revised its death toll to 66,000—a 10% increase attributed to states beginning to count nursing home deaths as COVID-19 deaths. The model also forecast when states might be able to relax social distancing, emphasizing that it would be dependent on containment measures including testing, contact tracing, isolation and limiting the size of gatherings. “If people start to go back to normal social interaction or even progressively go back, the risk of transmission will go up,” Murray told CNN. The University’s model made an appearance in a March 31, 2020 White House press briefing, which at that time was predicting up to 162,000 U.S. deaths through summer.
COVID-19: What’s New for April 27, 2020 (University of Washington)