IHME Model Increases Coronavirus Death Projections, with Biggest Jumps in States Not Yet Reopened

Coronavirus Test
AP Photo/Martin Mejia

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) released an update to its epidemiological model that projects an increase in coronavirus deaths to 74,073 in the United States by August 4.

The new projections represent a nine percent increase from the April 22 updated projections of 67,641 coronavirus deaths in the country.

About half of the 6,432 projected death increases are in five states. Four of those five states (New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Connecticut) are among those hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic that are not yet reopened, while one state (Texas) has recently announced it has begun to reopen its economy. As of Tuesday there have been 56,933 deaths in the United States due to coronavirus, according to Worldometer.

According to the update released along with Monday’s new projections:

At least part of this increase is due to many states experiencing flatter and thus longer epidemic peaks. Further, updated data indicate that daily COVID-19 deaths are not falling very quickly after the peak, leading to longer tails for many states’ epidemic curves.

In combination – less abrupt peaks and slower declines in daily COVID-19 deaths following the peak – many places in the US could have higher cumulative deaths from the novel coronavirus. . .

Across the US, the predicted peak for daily COVID-19 deaths appeared to be on April 15, reaching 2,698 deaths. While most states seem to have passed their epidemic peaks, seven –Hawaii, Mississippi, Texas, Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska, and North Dakota – may be experiencing their peaks now or could be in the coming weeks. . . [M]any states are seeing daily COVID-19 deaths falling more slowly than the speed at which deaths rose to peak levels. These slower trajectories are contributing to higher cumulative COVID-19 deaths being estimated through the epidemic’s first wave.

Projected coronavirus deaths in New York increased by 699, from 23,232 in the April 22 update to 29,390 in the April 27 update. Projected coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts increased by 1,255, from 4,242 in the April 22 update to 5,498 in the April 27 update. Projected coronavirus deaths in Connecticut, which borders both New York and Massachusetts, increased by 334, from 3,006 in the April 22 update to 3,340 in the April 27 update.

Projected coronavirus deaths in Michigan increased by 407, from 3,379 in the April 22 update to 3,785 in the April 27 update.

In Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott recently announced an aggressive reopening plan, projected coronavirus deaths increased by 415, from 1,241 in the April 22 update to 1,656 in the April 27 update.

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