COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The ‘battle of models’ continues. The Ohio Department of Health is sticking to its numbers as a nationally-recognized coronavirus model projects a smaller impact on the state.
According to the latest IHME projections, Ohio is two days away from its peak use of hospital resources. The IHME projects Ohio will only need 1,372 hospital beds and 262 ICU beds to care for COVID-19 patients. No shortage is projected by the IHME.
The IHME projects a peak of 29 deaths per day in Ohio between April 9 and April 12. A total of 544 deaths are projected by August 4.
The IHME model is ‘optimistic’ according to Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton. The state’s own modeling projects a peak much later in the month.
The previous version of the IHME model projected 1,898 deaths in Ohio with a peak of 69 per day.
Nationally, the IHME projects 81,766 deaths from the virus across the country. A peak of 3,130 deaths per day is projected on April 16. The previous version of the model projected 93,531 deaths.
The model still projects a national shortage of 36,654 hospital beds and 16,323 ICU beds.
The IHME is part of the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.
Dr. Christopher Murray, Director of the IHME, said the revised forecasts reflect “a massive infusion of new data.”
“As we obtain more data and more precise data, the forecasts we at IHME created have become more accurate,” Murray said. “And these projections are vital to health planners, policymakers, and anyone else associated with caring for those affected by and infected with the coronavirus.”
According to the IHME, projecting the epidemic in each state depends on predicting the peak. One week ago, the only place that had experienced a peak was Wuhan City. The group says impact of social distancing is now much clearer, as seven European regions have seen a peak in daily deaths as well. Those seven locations are Madrid, Spain; Castile-La Mancha, Spain; Tuscany, Italy; Emilia-Romagna, Italy; Liguria, Italy; Piedmont, Italy; and Lombardy, Italy.
Murray, however, cautioned that, “As we noted previously, the trajectory of the pandemic will change – and dramatically for the worse – if people ease up on social distancing or relax with other precautions. Our projections are strengthened by the new downturns in more regions. This is evidence that social distancing is crucial. Our forecasts assume that social distancing remains in place until the end of May.”
As of April 6, there are 4,450 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio, leading to 1,214hospital admissions and 142 deaths.
A forecast model from the Ohio State University, used by the Ohio Department of Health, projects a peak of 9,698 cases per day on April 25. Those projections are current as of March 28.
Asked about the IHME model on Monday, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton called it optimistic. She believes the state is using the best modeling data available when making decisions.
She says she will devote a significant amount of time later in the week to discuss the models, in a session she describes as ‘Modeling 101.’
“So, I think we’ll be able to celebrate some things, that it is not the worst case scenario that had been raised in some of the early Cleveland Clinic data modeling. But, I think it will not be as optimistic as that data. It will be somewhere in between,” said Dr. Acton.
Dr. Acton is expecting to see a peak late this month or early in May.
“In my estimate, the peak will be late this month, to that May 5th time. The Cleveland Clinic’s model took into account a different peak on social distancing,” said Dr. Aton. “People at home, you are moving mountains. You are saving lives. I get emotional talking about this. Because this is no small thing that we are doing together. It is incredibly hard to shut down our lives the way we have. I am absolutely certain you will look back and know that you helped save each other in the state. The impact is profound. More than I’d even hoped for was possible.”