IHME model lowers its projected number of U.S. deaths

For better or for worse, the University of Washington’s IHME model has become, for many governmental units, the go-to set of projections relating to the Wuhan coronavirus in the U.S. Governments credit the IHME’s forecasts of cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and strain on medical resources.

Until today, the IHME was forecasting 93,531 deaths from the virus (through early August). Now, it has lowered that number to 81,766. This number is in line with the model’s initial forecast (or at least the first such forecast of which I’m aware).

The model still predicts that the daily death rate from the virus will peak on April 16.

According to this report, the information that led to the downward revision includes data from states showing lower ratios of hospital admissions to deaths. According to the same report:

The IHME model assumes that all states will lock down — closing schools, telling residents to stay at home, closing nonessential businesses — and that “implementation and adherence to these measures is complete.” It also assumes the continuation of social distancing until early August, well beyond the April 30 guidelines currently set forth by the White House.

(Emphasis added)

Does this “social distancing” mean complete adherence to a sweeping nationwide lockdown until August? That seems like an unrealistic assumption and a highly undesirable course of action.

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