IHME model forecasts late-April COVID-19 death peak in Tennessee

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations projects that Tennessee will reach its peak for daily COVID-19 deaths in late April.

IHME, an independent health population research center at the University of Washington Medicine, said its model shows Tennessee will reach a high of 192 COVID-19 deaths a day on April 27. It forecasts 4,985 COVID-19 deaths in the state by Aug. 4.

The model shows Tennessee will reach a hospital-resource-use peak on April 26, when 18,979 hospital beds are predicted to be needed, including 2,898 intensive care unit beds. IHME says Tennessee has 7,812 hospital beds available and 629 ICU beds available, resulting in a shortage of 11,167 hospital beds and 2,269 ICU beds.

To develop a statistical model forecasting deaths and hospital utilization versus capacity over the next four months, IHME used data on confirmed COVID-19 deaths by day from the World Health Organization and local and national governments and data on hospital capacity and utilization. It also observed COVID-19 utilization data from select locations.

Nationally, IHME forecasts 83,967 deaths by Aug. 4, reaching a peak of 2,214 deaths on April 15. At the national peak, IHME’s model shows the U.S. will have a hospital bed shortage of 54,046 beds, including a shortage of 13,856 ICU beds.

“In addition to a large number of deaths from COVID-19, the epidemic in the U.S. will place a load well beyond the current capacity of hospitals to manage, especially for ICU care,” IHME Director Christopher J.L. Murray said. “These estimates can help inform the development and implementation of strategies to mitigate this gap, including reducing non-COVID-19 demand for services and temporarily increasing system capacity.”

IHME said the projections also are based on the assumption of continued strong social distancing and other protective measures.

Despite calls from Democratic lawmakers to do so, Gov. Bill Lee has not issued a statewide stay-at-home order. Instead, on Monday, Lee issued an order closing nonessential businesses in Tennessee and strongly urged residents to stay home.

As of Monday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported 1,834 COVID-19 cases in the state – including 13 deaths – and 148 hospitalizations.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus. The disease has caused at least 3,431 deaths in the U.S., with more than 176,000 confirmed cases in the country. COVID-19 symptoms appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing.

This article was first published by The Center Square.



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