New Coronavirus peak projections released for the area

JOPLIN, Mo./SEATTLE, Wash. – New forecasts from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation suggests we may be nearing the peak of the Coronavirus in our area. But, how is that number determined, and does that mean it’s safe to go back to our usual routine?

The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle is a part of the University of Washington. It’s been monitoring the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the U.S. and across the globe providing projections on when the worst would peak and then we’d be on the downhill run. In fact, those numbers have been revised significantly for Missouri in the past week.

Here’s where projections were on March 30th for the area: the original forecast peak dates for resource use, which means hospital facilities, like beds, ICU services, and ventilators, was April 28th for Kansas, April 23rd for Oklahoma, and May 20th for Missouri.

However, based on global data, and information reported in each individual state, those numbers were changed. Dr. Ali Mokdad says “So we revised our estimates, and we knew all along this would happen so that’s why we committed to review these numbers on a daily basis and then release new numbers to provide the most accurate numbers.”
Dr. Ali Mokdad is the Chief Strategy Officer for Population Health at the University of Washington. He also worked for the CDC.

The numbers for our area changed like this. Oklahoma moved up a day for it’s peak, Kansas and Missouri now have a peak date of April 19th – a month earlier for Missouri.

Dr. Mokdad says that’s thanks to the social distancing measures and other precautions being put in place. “What the projections are telling us and what we are seeing is these measures are working so it’s not time to relax them, we have to be extra careful right now.”

Dr. Mokdad says these numbers are promising and if they continue, we can start looking at normal sooner rather than later. But he warns against dropping our guard too soon. “If we relax our measures before the data tells us to do so, yes, we can risk a setback, we can risk a recirculation of the virus among our population, and remember, all of us are susceptible to this virus, we’ve never seen it before, it can come back again and we could have a second wave that is even much worse than the first wave if we don’t pay attention.”

Dr. Mokdad says the peak projections could still change, but he believes they should remain on track.