IHME Model Reduces 100k-200k Deaths Projection to 30k-120k

IHME Model Reduces 100k-200k Deaths Projection to 30k-120k

The IHME model, which the White House has been relying on, revised their U.S. coronavirus death projections downward sharply today. While just recently the conventional wisdom was deaths in the ballpark of 100k-200k by August 4th, they’ve been since cut to 60.5k by then. In a best case scenario we’d lose “only” around 30,000, and just over 120,000 in the new worst-case-scenario. In other words, the new worst-case is in the range of the expected amount of deaths according to lats week’s projections.

It is a promising sign for our nation’s health that these revisions continue being made in one direction – downward.

Just the yesterday IHME projected that peak resource use would occur on April 15th, and that 3,130 people would die on the worst single day. The peak has since been moved to April 11th, and the peak isn’t as high, with 2,212 projected to die (30% fewer).

So what explains the revisions? I’m sure the changes will prove to be a Rorschach Test of sorts, with some arguing that the reduction in projected deaths is proof that social distancing is working, while others will it as evidence that the models overestimated the speed at which the virus would spread in the first place. After all, how can you reliably extrapolate the rate of spread from a population dense city like NYC to the rest of the country? In reality, the revisions are likely the result of a combination of both factors.

While this isn’t a victory in that tens of thousands of Americans are still expected to die, this is a victory in the sense that the number of expected deaths has been nearly cut in half in a week.

It has been taboo to talk about the possibility of re-opening America in recent weeks, but with the virus expected to peak soon, this should bolster the case for re-opening America back up for business.

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