Coronavirus Updates

When will coronavirus peak in Ohio? New model projects fewer deaths


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The latest version of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) coronavirus model has again lowered the number of projected deaths in the state.

According to the latest projections, Ohio is two days away from its peak use of hospital resources. The IHME projects Ohio will only need 1,372 hospital beds and 262 ICU beds to care for COVID-19 patients. No shortage is projected by the IHME.

The IHME projects a peak of 29 deaths per day in Ohio between April 9 and April 12. A total of 544 deaths are projected by August 4.

The previous version of the IHME model projected 1,898 deaths in Ohio with a peak of 69 per day.

Nationally, the IHME projects 81,766 deaths from the virus across the country. A peak of 3,130 deaths per day is projected on April 16. The previous version of the model projected 93,531 deaths.

The model still projects a national shortage of 36,654 hospital beds and 16,323 ICU beds.

The IHME is part of the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.

Dr. Christopher Murray, Director of the IHME, said the revised forecasts reflect “a massive infusion of new data.” 

“As we obtain more data and more precise data, the forecasts we at IHME created have become more accurate,” Murray said. “And these projections are vital to health planners, policymakers, and anyone else associated with caring for those affected by and infected with the coronavirus.”  

According to the IHME, projecting the epidemic in each state depends on predicting the peak. One week ago, the only place that had experienced a peak was Wuhan City. The group says impact of social distancing is now much clearer, as seven European regions have seen a peak in daily deaths as well. Those seven locations are Madrid, Spain; Castile-La Mancha, Spain; Tuscany, Italy; Emilia-Romagna, Italy; Liguria, Italy; Piedmont, Italy; and Lombardy, Italy. 

Murray, however, cautioned that, “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.”

As of April 5, there are 4,043 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio, leading to 1,104 hospital admissions and 346 ICU admissions.

A forecast model from the Ohio State University, used by the Ohio Department of Health, projects a peak of 9,698 cases per day on April 25. Those projections are current as of March 28.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said last week there will be much more talk about modeling as the pandemic continues to unfold. Ohio is continuing to prepare for higher demand.

“How tall that is, how many cases we will have, how many deaths, when exactly that peak will be, there’s some differences. I can tell you that we’ve looked at worst case scenario and best case scenario. I feel that our modelers at OSU are giving us the most realistic scenario,” said Acton.

Dr. Acton says there is one thing everyone generating the models agrees on, the need for continued social distancing.

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