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Gazette staff and wire
WASHINGTON - A leading forecasting model used by the White House to chart the novel coronavirus pandemic predicted this week that the United States may need fewer hospital beds, ventilators and other equipment than previously projected.
On April 2, the model used by the University of Washington's Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation projected that 93,531 people in the United States would die of COVID-19 by Aug. 4.
When the model was updated this week with new data, it lowered that projection to 81,766.
Likewise, for Iowa, the model now predicts the state will see 420 COVID-19 deaths by Aug. 4 - about half what it projected a few weeks ago.
The model projects that deaths in Iowa will peak with 17 on April 26.
That remains far higher than what the state has experienced so far. On Sunday, the state reported that eight people in Iowa died of COVID-19 that day. The total number of COVID-19 deaths in the state has reached 26 since the virus was first seen March 8 in Iowa.
In the two weeks since the model was originally released, it has been criticized by some as inaccurate, failing to take into account some government orders.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the model embraces an entirely different statistical approach than usual, taking the trending curve of deaths from China and 'fitting” that curve to emerging death data from U.S. cities and counties to predict what might come next.
Its researchers said the model would change often, even from day to day. as more data is entered.
For Iowa, the model takes into account that schools have been ordered closed but that there has been no statewide or regional shelter-at-home order issued.
The most recent revision, however. does not reflect that Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday ordered a raft of additional non-essential business to close.
The Washington Post contributed.