A model heavily relied upon by the White House task force responding to the China-originated novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has again been updated.
On Sunday night, a model from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington dropped its estimated death projection for the first wave of the pandemic to 81,766 deaths, down from 93,531.
“The 11,765 fewer deaths would mark a 14% decrease for the model’s target projection, and a 30% decrease for the worst-case scenario,” The Daily Caller noted Monday.
The estimates are based off the implementation of “full social distancing through May 2020″ and do not factor in another wave of the virus post-August 1.
At an impromptu press briefing on Sunday, slightly before the revisions were made public, President Donald Trump told the nation that we are using fewer beds than the relied upon models have projected, specifically highlighting hard-hit New York.
“It’s turning out that we need less hospital beds,” the president said, as reported by The Daily Caller. “We may have models, but we’ve been sort of saying that. In New York, we were saying we think you’re gonna need less.”
The models reflected Trump’s remarks, dropping estimates on number of hospitalizations and needed ICU beds, too.
“The model had projected that hospitals across the U.S. would reach an ICU capacity of 39,727 beds by April 15. The revised model now projects that 29,210 ICU beds will be needed at the peak of the pandemic,” The Daily Caller highlighted.
Based on the IHME model, Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, leaders in the White House coronavirus response task force, earlier this month estimated between 100,000-240,000 deaths related to COVID-19, The Washington Post reported. (Revisions to the model made on Wednesday dropped the best-estimate to 93,531, and now 81,766.)
“Our model suggests that, with social distancing, the end of the first wave of the epidemic could occur by early June,” the government website for the model explains. “The question of whether there will be a second wave of the epidemic will depend on what we do to avoid reintroducing COVID-19 into the population.”
“By the end of the first wave of the epidemic, an estimated 97% of the population of the United States will still be susceptible to the disease and thus measures to avoid a second wave of the pandemic prior to vaccine availability will be necessary,” the site continues. “Maintaining some of the social distancing measures could be supplemented or replaced by nation-wide efforts such as mass screening, contact tracing, and selective quarantine.”
Aside from the IHME model, Dr. Birx has specifically highlighted a model from Imperial College London as a guide for nationwide policy on fighting the novel coronavirus. The model initially estimated up to a stunning 2.2 million COVID-19 associated deaths in the United States with no mitigation. Neil Ferguson, the epidemiologist behind the Imperial model, predicted a whopping 500,000 COVID-19 associated fatalities in the U.K. without mitigation, but now estimates far fewer than 20,000 deaths, citing the nation’s lockdowns.