Experts warn that pandemic modelling is not highly accurate because of many unknown factors
The White House’s computer model predicts that 82,000 people in the United States could become victims of COVID-19 by August 4, if the country’s residents adhere to the principles of social distance by the end of May.
The coronavirus is projected to kill 81,766 people, slightly less than the other figure previously cited by Trump’s administration – 93,531. The forecast suggests that the country may need fewer hospital beds, lung ventilators and other equipment than previously thought, and that in some states COVID-19 mortality may peak faster than expected.
Not all states use the government forecast model. While the White House expects coronavirus infestations in the capital to peak in late April, Washington authorities are relying on another computer model, according to which the city’s morbidity peak will not be reached until late June or early July. In any case, experts warn against rash optimism and say it is better to prepare for a pessimistic scenario.
To model the development of the Coronavirus pandemic, the White House used forecasts created by the Institute of Health Indicators and Assessments at the University of Washington in Seattle. The White House also contacted several universities, including the University of Texas at Austin.
Lauren Meyers, an epidemiologist and head of the University’s research team, emphasizes that pandemic modelling is almost never accurate.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty about the forecasts we make because of the lack of access to accurate data, because we just don’t yet understand how the coronavirus behaves, and especially because of the uncertainty about how people will behave and what the authorities will do to change the model of contact in the coming weeks and months,” says Meyers.