Months into coronavirus pandemic how have early predictions panned out?

Published 2:21 pm Sunday, June 28, 2020

As we approach July 1, approximately four months since much of America began seriously paying attention to the COVID-19 coronavirus, just how have the early predictions turned out?

In late March just a few weeks after much of the U.S. went on lockdown to help “flatten the curve” America’s infectious disease experts predicted that the virus could kill 100,000 to 200,000 Americans.

The prediction Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made on CNN’s “State of the Union,” seemed dire – at least at the time.

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At that point, America had approximately 125,000 infections and 2,200 deaths so the predictions seemed staggeringly high, difficult for some people to believe.

But currently, more than 2.5 million Americans have tested positive for the virus and the U.S. death toll sits at more than 127,000.

At the same time in late March, a computer model created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington predicted Mississippi would have 1,223 deaths through early August. At the time, Mississippi only had 16 deaths from coronavirus. The number also seemed staggering.

That prediction came several days before Mississippi issued its stay at home order in early April. A few weeks after that, the IHME revised its forecast suggesting Mississippi’s COVID-19 death toll might only be approximately 371. That number seemed reasonable and had improved due to the lockdown orders.

Just over a month later, Mississippi’s death toll blew through the predicted 371 death toll and has been climbing ever since.

As residents and businesses became impatient and frustrated by stay-at-home orders and state and local governments began reopening, the numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths have been steadily increasing and, in turn, making the early models seem not so outlandish anymore.

Through Sunday, Mississippi has recorded 1,039 deaths from COVID-19. With another month before we get to August and with a trailing 14-day average of daily COVID-19 deaths of approximately 10, hitting the earlier 1,223 deaths prediction seems like an almost certainty at this point.