UW model predicts COVID-19 deaths in Washington state will decline starting Tuesday

Data pix.

SEATTLE -- New data from a health research center at the University of Washington suggests that COVID-19 deaths in Washington state will peak again today (April 6) and continue going down for the foreseeable future.

According to the The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), Washington state's peak on health care resources peaked four days ago on April 2. Their model suggests that Washington state will not have a shortage of ICU beds or hospital beds.

Graph courtesy IHME

The country as a whole, however, is not expected to peak on resources and deaths until April 15. The IHME estimates there will be a shortage of 16,323 ICU beds nationwide and nearly 25,000 ventilators needed.

Although the numbers sound grim at the surface, IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray said the revised forecasts are less than previously estimated.

The institute predicts 632 COVID-19 deaths in Washington state by August of this year and 81,766 across the country. The initial models for Washington state surpassed 1,000 deaths. And a model last updated on April 2 showed 11,765 more deaths in the U.S. than the current predictions.

The revised forecasts reflect "a massive infusion of new data" from New York, Massachusetts Georgia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida and California, Murray said.

They're also based on a very crucial contingent: that strict social distancing measures continue.

"As we noted previously, the trajectory of the pandemic will change – and dramatically for the worse – if people ease up on social distancing or relax with other precautions. Our projections are strengthened by the new downturns in more regions. This is evidence that social distancing is crucial. Our forecasts assume that social distancing remains in place until the end of May," Murray said.

"If social distancing measures are relaxed or not implemented, the US will see greater death tolls, the death peak will be later, the burden on hospitals will be much greater, and the economic costs will continue to grow," he continued.

As of Sunday, there were 7,984 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Washington state, with 338 deaths.

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