IHME 25% Drop in Coronavirus Death Projections Due to ‘New Data’

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AFP/Bryan R. Smith

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) told Breitbart News late Wednesday the 25 percent drop in their model’s updated projections for coronavirus deaths made earlier in the day was due to “new data coming . . . from several states.”

Shortly after the Wednesday April 8 updated projections were made available on the IHME website, Breitbart News reported, “[the] model cited by the White House Coronavirus Task Force lowered its projections for coronavirus deaths in the U.S. by 25 percent from 81,766 to 60,415 early Wednesday morning.”

“Wednesday’s dramatic reverse in the model’s projection of U.S. deaths was made without a press release from IHME explaining the reasons for the reduction. It marks the second reduction in the model’s U.S. deaths projections since April 1, when it forecast 93,765 U.S. fatalities. On April 5, the death projections were lowered to 81,766,” Breitbart News noted in that early Wednesday morning article.

“New data coming into IHME from several states indicates a decline in the overall deaths we predict for the U.S. through the end of the pandemic’s first wave,” a spokesperson for the IHME told Breitbart News in an email Wednesday afternoon when asked to explain the reasoning behind the dramatic drop in the model’s projections for coronavirus deaths in the United States by August 4.

“It’s important to note that our forecasts currently range from a death toll of 126,703 to 31,224. As data continues to come in, our estimates will change, much like weather forecasts fluctuate,” the IHME spokesperson added.

The 126,703 to 31,224 death toll range in the April 8 update of the IHME model that projects 60,415 deaths in the United States by August 4 is significantly lower than the ranges included in the two most recent updates of the model made on April 5 and April 1.

In the April 5 press release announcing the lowering of death projections to 81,766, the IHME said:

Regarding deaths from the virus, the Institute’s previous general analysis still stands; however, the highest estimates are lower. IHME forecasts 81,766 deaths, with a range between 49,431 and 136,401. The estimated peak day, the modeling indicated, is April 16, with a projected 3,130 deaths nationwide on that day. Estimates for many states have been substantially revised because of more data. Data in the early days of the epidemic in each state can inform the trajectory of the epidemic, whether it will follow a pattern of rapid increase as in New York, or much slower increase as in Washington. (emphasis added)

The new death toll range included in the April 8 update of the model, as explained by the IHME spokesperson to Breitbart News, is 18,207 projected deaths less on the lower boundary (49,431 minus 31,224) and 9,698 lower on the upper boundary (136,401 minus 126,703) of the April 5 update of the model

In the April 1 estimation update explaining the 93,765 death projection, the IHME said:

A total of 93,765 US COVID-19 deaths (range of 41,399 to 177,381) are currently predicted through the epidemic’s first wave.

The new death toll range included in the April 8 update of the model, as explained by the IHME spokesperson to Breitbart News, is 10,175 projected deaths less on the lower boundary (41,399 minus 31,224) and 50,678 lower on the upper boundary (177,381 minus 126,703) of the April 1 update of the model.

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