As States Re-Open Understanding COVID Predictions Can Be Lifesaving
About two months, give or take a few days, have gone by since stay-at-home order were enacted across the country. As a result, the United States saw fewer cases of COVID-19 and fewer deaths due to complications of the virus than were predicted.
Fewer is good, as it showed that social distancing and quarantining is working. Nevertheless, the numbers still speak for themselves – currently there are almost 1.4 million cases in the U.S. and 80,000 deaths due to the coronavirus.
At one point, with stay-at-home orders in effect, COVID-19 predicted deaths dropped to 60,000 – down from a one-time prediction of 90,000 by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington (IHME).
Still, over the past couple of weeks, states have been looking to reopen as people want to get back to their lives – especially now that summer is right around the corner and we have witnessed significant economic damage and the unemployment rate hitting 14.7% in April, or 20.5 million jobs gone.
With states coming out of quarantine, new data from the IHME also showed that people were more mobile in 18 states 15-to-20 percent as compared to the start of quarantine. For example, Georgia saw more than 62,000 people visit the state after it began to reopen non-essential businesses – with the majority coming from the still heavily locked down Florida.
And health experts are now forecasting that the spread of the virus could last well into summer, significantly increasing the country’s death toll. IHME now predicts that 137,000 people will die of COVID-19 by August 4, 2020 as people come out of isolation.
This number is more than double the IHME’ previous prediction.
With all these numbers, one might be asking, “Which one is accurate and can be trusted?”
Well… all of them were… at one point.
And this makes it’s important to understand why they are changing and what the changes mean for your safety and ability to return to normal daily life.
As mentioned above, the IHME once dropped their prediction to 60,000 deaths – this was due to the fact the self-isolation and social distancing practices were being followed and new cases of COVID-19 slowed.
So, with more people staying at home, there was less opportunity for the virus to spread.
It was working!
Now though, with people taking advantage of states reducing stay-at-home restrictions, despite the high risk of contracting and spreading COVID still prevalent, predictions have skewed higher in representation of large numbers of people no longer following key health practices, like social distancing.
That said, Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, believes between 60 and 70 percent of the U.S. population will contract the coronavirus. As it stands now, only five percent to 15% of the population has been infected.
In raw numbers, potentially 229,600,000 Americans will be infected with COVID-19.
As we see states reopen and businesses resume operations, it will still be important to understand the predictions and follow recommended health practices to minimize any risk to your health.
For additional information on the coronavirus, or for any questions regarding health and safety practices, please visit Xenophon’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Team webpage at: https://xenophonstrategies.com/covid-19-response.
Getting Back to Work is an ongoing series on health and safety regarding COVID-19 from Xenophon Strategies, in partnership with Dr. David Hamer, a professor at the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine with more than 30 years of experience in epidemiological diseases. Through the partnership Xenophon is working with Dr. Hamer to provide science-based recommendations and guidance on how employers, employees, and families should best respond to and combat the COVID-19 pandemic.