CORONAVIRUS

Influential model lowers coronavirus death estimates in Iowa, nationally

Much lower estimate for Iowa, but still staggering

Samuel Gutner, a superior of the biocontainment unit watches lead clinical nurse Madeleine Steinberg rub hand sanitizer
Samuel Gutner, a superior of the biocontainment unit watches lead clinical nurse Madeleine Steinberg rub hand sanitizer on her outer set of gloves which are sealed with tape as medical staff train at Johns Hopkins Hospital on Jan. 28, 2020. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/TNS)

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.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

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.

Support our coverage

Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate. Your contribution will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.

All donations are tax-deductible.

Support our coverage

Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate. Your contribution will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.

All donations are tax-deductible.