IHME forecast: OK COVID-19 pandemic to peak April 17


A worker, wearing protective gear, checks in a person at a mobile testing site for COVID-19 in Oklahoma City, Thursday March 26, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The peak of the coronavirus outbreak is about 18 days away for Oklahoma, according to projections published Thursday by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

“No state, no metro area will be spared. And the sooner that we react and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they put in full mitigation at the same time understanding exactly what their hospitals need, then we’ll be able to move forward together and protect the most Americans,” White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Sunday on NBC’s Meet The Press, referring to IHME’s forecast.

The nation is on track for a shortage of 49,292 hospital beds at the height of the pandemic, with an intensive care unit bed shortage of 14,601 beds, according to the IHME. That’s if all states institute social distancing and other prevention measures by April 2. If not, IHME warns the numbers will increase.

The IHME expects the pandemic to peak in Oklahoma on April 17 and nationally on April 14. The IHME predicts Oklahoma will need 234 ventilators, 434 ICU beds, and 2,873 total beds.

Based on current death rates, the IHME is forecasting the COVID-19 daily death toll in the U.S. to spike at 31 in Oklahoma on April 16, with a total of 898 Oklahomans losing their lives to COVID-19 during the pandemic’s first wave. Oklahoma is not expected to record zero COVID-19 deaths for the day until June 25.

Nationwide, IHME is predicting 2,341 will die at the height of the pandemic on April 14, with the daily death toll finally dropping below 100 on June 12. By Aug. 4, an estimated 81,114 people in the U.S. will have died from COVID-19, if the IHME’s predictions hold true.

The group says more action will be needed to avoid a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

“By end the of the first wave of the epidemic, an estimated 97% of the population of the United States will still be susceptible to the disease, so avoiding reintroduction of COVID-19 through mass screening, contact tracing, and quarantine will be essential to avoid a second wave,” the organization states on its website.

The IHME says its forecast model is designed to address the planning needs of hospitals and local governments, with data coming from local and national governments, hospital networks and other sources including the World Health Organization and American Hospital Association.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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