University of Washington think tank offers COVID-19 projections for Pennsylvania


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — You may have seen President Trump refer to charts and graphs this week, laying out how deadly coronavirus is expected to be in the country and in each state.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington has been providing coronavirus projections, which the White House uses.

There is vague optimism as the institute’s projected figure of 200,000 Americans dying, has since dipped to around 93,000.

“This is very positive but still very sad that so many people will die from COVID-19,” says Dr. Ali Mokdad, Director of Middle Eastern Initiatives for IHME.

Mokdad’s model includes state-by-state data.

In Pennsylvania, the disease is expected to peak on April 18. 79 people are estimated to die the following day, while more than 2,000 in the commonwealth will fall victim to COVID-19 overall.

Grim, however, neighboring New York is expected to lose more than 16,000 people.

Mokdad says the disease started later in Pennsylvania, which allowed the state more time to gear up and shut down.

“Pennsylvania will fare very well as long as people in Pennsylvania adhere to social distancing measures. If they relax? No, we will have a setback,” he cautioned.

Mokdad’s projection suggests that Pennsylvania’s hospitals will be able to handle the upcoming surge of patients — but his model assumes we all keep our distance until the end of May.

“What we are doing in terms of social distancing is working. We should stay vigilant and keep doing it more and wait until the data tells us we can go back to normal. It shouldn’t be a political decision, the science should tell us and the data should tell us,” he emphasized.

Mokdad says the national death toll could reach as high as 170,000 or as low as 47,000. It all depends on how well Americans stay away from each other and practice social distancing.

It works. He’s seen it. He does acknowledge, however, it’s not easy.

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