Coronavirus pandemic: California's COVID-19 peak is imminent, model shows

ByAlix Martichoux KGO logo
Tuesday, March 31, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO -- A model from a University of Washington medical research group predicts when the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic will reach its climax in each state.

In California, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimates that day could be Friday.

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The model projects the number of hospital beds, intensive care beds and ventilators that will be needed to treat the novel coronavirus. IHME predicts that "peak resource use" will be on April 17 in California. Even at peak resource use, California won't have a shortage of hospital beds, ICU beds or ventilators, according to IHME. Gov. Gavin Newsom has called on California companies to make new and refurbish old ventilators to keep up with projected demand, and recently donated several hundred ventilators to states who need them more.

California is projected to see its peak mortality rate just a few days later, on April 19. The IHME model suggest we'll see a peak of 52 deaths per day on Sunday, before seeing a steady decline through mid-May.

The model has shifted in recent weeks to show California's progress in flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases. Originally, the state was projected to reach its peak resource use and death rate at the end of April.

In late March the study had projected that the total deaths in California would be over 6,000 by August. On Monday, the model showed a dramatic decline in projected deaths: 1,483 by August.

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The situation is much more dire in New York, shows the IHME model, which predicts the state will see more than 14,500 deaths by August.

See the full projections from IHME here. The model was most recently updated Monday, and will continue to be adjusted based on real-time data.

(Editor's note: This story was updated Monday at 2:45 p.m. to reflect updated projections from the University of Washington.)

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