COVID-19 Resource Center
COVID-19 Resource Center
Perspective from Amesh Adalja, MD
Source/Disclosures
Source:

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. COVID-19 Projections. http://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america?view=total-deaths&tab=trend. Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.

Disclosures: Mokdad reports no relevant financial disclosures.
September 23, 2020
2 min read
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Model: US could see another 200K COVID-19 deaths by 2021

Perspective from Amesh Adalja, MD
Source/Disclosures
Source:

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. COVID-19 Projections. http://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america?view=total-deaths&tab=trend. Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.

Disclosures: Mokdad reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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The United States has surpassed 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University. If distancing measures continue to ease, the death toll could more than double by the end of 2020, a widely cited model predicted.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) currently projects more than 375,000 total U.S. deaths from COVID-19 by Dec. 31. However, a model that “assumes that the gradual easing of social distancing mandates continues” shows the number of deaths could surpass 437,000 by the end of the year.

Ali Mokdad, PhD, IHME’s chief strategy officer of population health, said the model predicts outcomes based on mandates in place throughout the country. If a state’s death toll begins to rise, the model assumes that mandates will go back into effect.

Ali Mokdad

“So, if none of the states [put mandates back into place], of course, the number is an underestimate, unfortunately,” Mokdad told Healio.

The country reached its peak in daily COVID-19 deaths on April 16, when more than 2,300 Americans died from the disease, according to IHME data. If mandates continue to ease, the number of daily COVID-19 deaths could reach about 8,300 per day by Dec. 31, the model projects.

Currently, the U.S. is experiencing about 43,000 cases per day, but Mokdad said it is on track to reach 70,000 to 75,000.

“We're increasing right now. We went down to 650 deaths a day, now we're about 800,” Mokdad said. “It's going up and it's not the time to go up. We would like this to be down, so we start from a lower level [in the winter months].”

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 33,000 people have died from COVID-19 in New York, the most of any state. Los Angeles County leads the nation’s counties in total deaths with more than 6,400 reported.

Under a universal masking scenario in which mask use rises to 95%, the nation’s death toll would still rise, but at a slower rate, with 262,000 total deaths projected by the end of the year, according to the IHME model. As of today, around 46% of people in the U.S. wears a mask regularly, IHME reported — a decrease from the country’s peak of 51% in late July and early August.

Using cell phone mobility data, IHME has been estimating social distancing behavior in the country. According to the data, reduced contact among Americans peaked in early April.

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