(The Center Square) – New projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations forecasts the U.S. will reach its peak for daily COVID-19 deaths in mid-April.
IHME, an independent health population research center at the University of Washington Medicine, said its model shows the U.S. will reach a high of 2,214 COVID-19 deaths a day on April 15. It forecasts 83,967 COVID-19 deaths in the country by Aug. 4.
The model shows the U.S. also will reach a hospital-resource-use peak on April 15, when 220,643 hospital beds are predicted to be needed, including 32,976 intensive care unit beds. IHME projections indicate the U.S. will have a shortage of 54,046 hospital beds and 13,856 ICU beds on that date.
To develop a statistical model forecasting deaths and hospital utilization versus capacity over the next four months, IHME used data on confirmed COVID-19 deaths by day from the World Health Organization and local and national governments and data on hospital capacity and utilization. It also observed COVID-19 utilization data from select locations.
“In addition to a large number of deaths from COVID-19, the epidemic in the U.S. will place a load well beyond the current capacity of hospitals to manage, especially for ICU care,” IHME Director Christopher J.L. Murray said. “These estimates can help inform the development and implementation of strategies to mitigate this gap, including reducing non-COVID-19 demand for services and temporarily increasing system capacity.”
IHME said the projections also are based on the assumption of continued strong social distancing and other protective measures.
Severals states have issued statewide stay-at-home orders. On Sunday, President Donald Trump said the federal government was extending its guidelines on social distancing and other protective measures through April 30.
Trump also said the death rate should peak in about two weeks, which matches the IHME model.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus. The disease has caused at least 3,192 deaths in the U.S., with more than 166,000 confirmed cases in the country. COVID-19 symptoms appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing.
Jason Schaumburg is an award-winning, veteran editor who has been a journalist for more than 20 years. He spent a decade as the top editor in three northern Illinois newsrooms for Shaw Media and Pioneer Press.