New Model Estimates New York Coronavirus Deaths Through January

NEW YORK — A highly-cited coronavirus projection model was recently updated to include estimates on how the pandemic could impact New York through the end of January.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates deaths in the state will hit 39,833 by Feb. 1. That figure is the current projection. Deaths are projected to reach 40,715 if mandates are eased, while 36,529 are projected to die if everyone wears a mask.

As of Thursday, 32,916 New Yorkers have died to COVID-19. The model estimates the state will end the year with 35,963 coronavirus deaths, followed by a spike in January.

There has been a slow uptick in New York coronavirus deaths per day since mid-September. Currently, roughly 10 people die each day to the virus. The deaths per day rate is slowly expected to climb now through February. The model predicts roughly 147 New Yorkers will die each day in February if restrictions remain the same, and the figure could be 222 if mandates are eased. If everyone were to wear a mask, the model predicts more than 70 within the state might die to COVID-19 each day towards the end of January.

Hospitals could also face issues again if the model’s projections come true. There are currently 13,011 beds and 718 ICU beds available in New York hospitals, according to IHME. It’s projected that anywhere from 4,666 to 17,355 beds will be needed by Feb. 1, while potential ICU bed needs range from 660 to 2,388. The need for ventilators could range from 596 to 2,155 by the end of January, the model suggests.

Overall, the authors are predicting the United States will experience 394,693 COVID-19 deaths by Feb. 1.

“At the national level, daily cases remain constant and deaths have declined slightly. Several states in the Midwest have begun the fall/winter surge,” the authors said. “Given some improvements in components IHME’s modeling, we expect the number of daily deaths to reach 2,250 in mid-January. The fall/winter surge timing in each state will depend on actions by individuals and the speed of reaction to the surge by different governors or other local government officials.”

The model does have its fair share of criticism, however.

Researchers writing in The Annals of Internal Medicine criticized the simulation for its grounding “not on transmission dynamics but on a statistical model with no epidemiologic basis.” The researchers chalked the popularity of the IHME’s work up to our collective fear of the unknown, noting the “appearance of certainty is seductive when the world is desperate to know what lies ahead.”

Read the full report on New York here.

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