Revised coronavirus modeling from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) project that the number of hospitalizations due to the virus in Texas will be drastically lower than previously expected.
According to the model, an estimated peak of 3,682 beds will be needed instead of 17,221, the projection of the model’s earlier iteration.
That peak is also supposed to be reached much earlier — April 19 instead of May 6.
Based on numbers released by Governor Abbott during a press conference last week, the state will be extremely well equipped for an outbreak of the predicted size.
At the time, over 19,000 beds were immediately available for use by COVID patients.
According to DSHS, there are currently 1,153 beds in use — lower than the 1,689 projected needed under the new IHME estimates.
Ventilators are also in good supply.
IHME projects a needed 605 ventilators instead of its earlier estimate of 2,055.
On Friday, Governor Abbott said there were 8,741 ventilators available, though at a press conference today, he said about 6,000 ventilators are available.
Similarly, the total number of deaths expected in the state by August have been reduced under the new projections.
Previously, IHME projected 6,392 deaths, and now they’re estimating 2,025 deaths.
Deaths per day in Texas are projected to peak at 72 on April 20, but the estimated range is still wide, with the low end around 15 and the high end at 250.
The IHME model is a project led by Dr. Christopher Murray out of the University of Washington and has been cited by Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
According to a press release from IHME, Murray said that the revisions are due to “a massive infusion of new data” from across multiple states including New York, Massachusetts, Georgia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida, and California.
“As we obtain more data and more precise data, the forecasts we at IHME created have become more accurate,” said Murray. “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 release, the length of stay for patients who do not require intensive care unit (ICU) services has gone down, but patients requiring ICU services have had to stay longer.
On a national level, IHME says that their projected number of deaths has not changed from the projected 81,766, but has narrowed from an estimate between 38,000 and 162,000 to an estimate between 49,431 and 136,401.
Murray said that “if people ease up on social distancing or relax with other precautions,” then the projections would likely change “dramatically for the worse.”
He noted that the forecast assumes, just as the previous predictions assumed, that “social distancing remains in place until the end of May.”
Under the new model, neighboring Louisiana has already reached its peak in caseload and is on the trajectory down the curve.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.