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(c) 2020 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 19, 2020

COVID Predictions Now Estimating Second Wave Beginning Sept 15 in US and 200,000 deaths

The Sun-Belt States, lead by Florida, are now reporting a huge upswing in US-COVID reinfection rates. Implementation of rapid return to work scenarios, and lackadaisical attitudes by 14-50 year olds in failing to adhere to social distancing and use of face masks, is now causing a massive increase in COVID hospitalizations and deaths. The new modeling prediction is going to create further uncertainty as to financial stability in the workers' compensation arena going forward. 

Modeling Predictions
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has extended its US COVID-19 forecasts through October 1. The forecast shows 169,890 deaths in the US by October 1, with a possible range between 133,201 and 290,222. Deaths nationwide are predicted to remain fairly level through August and begin to rise again in the fourth week of August with a more pronounced increase during September, although some states will see the increase earlier due to increased mobility and relaxation of social distancing mandates.


Planning for the Second Wave

“We’re now able to look ahead and see where states need to begin planning for a second wave of COVID-19,” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray. “We hope to see our model proven wrong by the swift actions governments and individuals take to reduce transmission.”

The model includes data through June 6, 2020. Large gatherings in some states due to lifting of social distancing restrictions, gatherings on national holidays, and public protests are reflected in the general trend toward increased mobility.

The institute will now continue to forecast four months into the future, updating the timeframe for the forecast at the beginning of each month.

IHME has also updated the model used for forecasting COVID-19 deaths and infections. The model now includes mobility data, testing, pneumonia seasonality (expected to be similar to COVID-19 seasonality), mask use, population density, air pollution, low altitude, annual pneumonia death rate, smoking, and self-reported contacts as covariates. The model no longer relies on any data from Wuhan, China. Based on IHME’s analysis, mask use results in up to 50% reduction in transmission of COVID-19.

States with the highest numbers of deaths by October 1 include:
New York: 32,310 (range between 31,754 and 33,241)
New Jersey: 13,177 (12,881–13,654)
California: 8,821 (7,151–12,254)
Michigan: 8,771 (7,098–14,743)


The states with the earliest uptick in deaths, according to current modeling, are Florida, Arizona, Georgia, and Colorado.


“If the US is unable to check the growth in September, we could be facing worsening trends in October, November, and the following months if the pandemic, as we expect, follows pneumonia seasonality,” Dr. Murray said.

Increasing travel in some states, as well as the overlap with the flu season, are likely to impact hospital demand for services in fall and winter.

The new death projections and other information, such as hospital resources usage, are available at https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america. 

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.
Twitter: jongelman
LinkedIn: JonGelman
Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" West-Thomson-Reuters