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Montana projected to have lowest death toll in US



“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 4/14/20

According to a model from Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Montana will have the lowest number of deaths from COVID-19 through Aug. 4, with only 22 total deaths, tailed closely by Alaska with 25 deaths. But the model, which also projects medical resource needs and is widely used by international governments—including the U.S. federal government—has come under scientific scrutiny for potential gross inaccuracies. One glaring example of possible oversight: the model predicts zero COVID-19 fatalities in the U.S. after June 21. According to KTVQ, experts find that to be unlikely, if not impossible. Wishful thinking might be to blame. “Aggressive measures—like mass screening, testing and contact tracing—could protect against reintroduction of the virus from another state or country, according to a FAQ from the IHME,” reports KTVQ. Bill Hanage, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told the TV station not so fast. “Unfortunately, there is no way that amount of control could happen by the summer … Even in the best scenario, we assume there will be flare-ups, and we will have to remain extremely vigilant,” Hanage said. The model also doesn’t account for a potential “second wave” that could arrive once summer temps dip during the arrival of fall, acknowledges Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the institute that built the model.

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