Editor's Note: This article was last updated on April 20th with new information from IHME that came out on Friday evening. We will continue to provide new information when new projections are released. It is important to remember these numbers are based on models with many variables that can affect their accuracy.
New Projections and Initiatives To Reopen
Starting this week, a number of states are formally announcing their plans to reopen. We've updated the chart below to reflect new information from IHME on the projected date the states will hit their peak and what the total death count may look like. All models are predictions for the future and subject to large degrees of variation, especially given how fluid the coronavirus situation is and how each state is managing its response differently.
The White House has released its plan called 'Opening Up America Again' and meant to be a guideline for state governor's who will ultimately make the call. In the federal plan, it is broken out into three phases with the first one encouraged to begin only until the state meets each of the following criteria:
- a downward trajectory of COVID-like illnesses and cases within a 14-day period
- a downward trajectory of documented cases and positive tests (based on percentages, not total) over 14-days
- hospitals are able to treat patients and robust testing in place
Based on these criteria, only a number of states would fall into this category and many are taking small steps to reopen. Jacksonville, FL reopened their beaches for exercise last week and the Governor of Texas has announced lifting restrictions over the next few days including allowing elective surgeries, parks to reopen, and retail stores to allow 'to-go' orders. According to this data, 45 states will have passed their peak death toll date by the end of this week based on the latest projections that require social distancing and robust containment strategies continuing. With protest breaking out all over the country, Governors are left balancing lives and livelihoods and are asking for caution along with increased funding and availability of testing.
When can social distancing be relaxed? Dates range between May 4 and early July, assuming the current level of social distancing is in place until infections reach below 1 per million, and containment strategies are implemented. https://t.co/VijHL0ioDx pic.twitter.com/eP8Sh8Ulvd— IHME_UW (@IHME_UW) April 19, 2020
The latest projections for each state's peak death date is below. According to IHME, the U.S. has passed its peak death date on April 15th.
Information from April 9th, 2020
Chris Murray, the lead researcher at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations, has been cited for their prediction modeling work by the White House among numerous other publications. His latest projections have been released and there is some good news to draw from it. While any death is tragic, it is a positive sign to see the projected death toll in America has dropped down to 60k by August 4th, 2020 from earlier projections between 100k and 220k according to IHME. The U.S. is expected to peak next week on April 12th, 2020 and drop below 1,000 deaths per day by the end of April.
Dr. Chris Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, explains the drop in predicted deaths in their Covid-19 model. https://t.co/e6XAxQHVlJ pic.twitter.com/o2YU2V0V7M— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) April 8, 2020
In addition to this news, the research center also published state-by-state projections of when the peak could hit local areas. This information can be used to help guide businesses on when to expect the surge to protect themselves, their families, their employees, and have a better indication of when we might be on the other side of the apex.
It is to be noted, a peak does not mean an immediate return to life as we know it and these models assume full social distancing through May 2020. Complacency in following CDC guidelines could lead to further outbreaks and smaller peaks that have been described by some as the ‘hammer and the dance’. Furthermore, the model is being updated regularly as new information and more data becomes available. It can be viewed in its entirety here.
For the most updated models and projections, this research can be found here.