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Top COVID-19 Model Shows New, Much Lower US Death Toll Estimate — Again

A leading model used to predict the impact of the coronavirus, the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), dropped the number of projected total deaths again.

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As the Daily Wire reports, the model uses existing data to determine the pandemic’s impact by the end of the summer, where it dropped the total number of deaths within the United States by August from 68,841 to 60,308.

The death toll drop is also reflected in the total estimated range of deaths. This figure dropped from an initial estimated range of 30,188 to 175,965 deaths before the correction to an estimated range of 34,063 to 140,381 deaths.

“Across the US, projected cumulative COVID-19 deaths could reach 60,308 (estimate range of 34,063 to 140,381) during the epidemic’s first wave,” the institute said in a corrective statement on Friday. “Today’s release is somewhat lower than the average US predictions for cumulative COVID-19 deaths published on April 13 (68,841, with an estimated range of 30,188 to 175,965), though the uncertainty intervals still overlap considerably.”

The institute said this uncertainty is causing them to reassess how the coronavirus will pan out.

“By incorporating the trend in cases alongside COVID-19 deaths in our model, many locations are now predicted to have longer peaks and are taking longer to move down the epidemic curve to zero deaths,” the institute said. “Subsequently, these places now have higher projections for cumulative COVID-19 deaths through the first wave.”

The IHME model’s drop is the latest in a string of corrections that point to a lesser impact than initial guesses:

The White House last month projected 100,000 to 240,000 deaths (Forbes reported that “it appears the White House is utilizing (or informed by) a model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation”). Two weeks ago, the IMHE pulled that back, projecting 93,531 deaths. A week later, the institute lowered its estimate to 81,766 deaths.

President Donald Trump said last week that deaths in the U.S. from SARS-CoV-2 will come in “substantially” below the 100,000 then predicted in the model relied upon by the White House.

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