New model paints darker picture
“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (1) – 4/9/20
On April 6, EBS reported updates on a COVID-19 model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation—the very same model used by the Trump Administration—which saw a favorable decline from 270 to 22 COVID-19-related deaths in Montana through April 4. That number has since jumped to 81, according to the IHME model, with the last death projected on May 21 and a later peak date of April 20 versus April 13. According to that model, there will never be a shortage of hospital beds in the Treasure State. But a new model, COVID Act Now, which has been endorsed by a cohort of academics and scientists, paints a different picture. According to NBC Montana, “The founder ran data science for a Google division for 10 years. He says his model is much more complex than the IMHE site and is more customized to each state.” It predicts that if citizens observe lax social distancing measures, the situation could extend deep into July, with roughly 5,700 hospitalizations and resource overload beginning on June 1. Under “strict” compliance, Montana will see 476 hospitalizations by July 4. Lax measures predict 4,000 deaths, with 54 percent of the population becoming infected. Strictly following rules will mean less than 8 percent of the population will become infected and there will be no strain on hospital resources. The article emphasizes predictions are not facts, but both models reinforce positive impacts from strictly following shelter-in-place orders.