Projected coronavirus deaths in North Carolina have decreased

Published 3:13 pm Friday, April 17, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Health care data forecasters are projecting that North Carolina has already hit its peak in terms of number of deaths per day due to the coronavirus and the total projected number of deaths have significantly decreased from a few weeks ago.

A forecast model created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) projected that North Carolina has no current shortages of hospital beds, including ICU beds, and only needs roughly 150 ventilators to be able to adequately flatten the curve.

The numbers, which were last updated April 13, stand in sharp contrast to a Stanly News & Press article published roughly two weeks ago when the model projected that the state needed 862 more beds, including 625 ICU beds, and 954 ventilators in order to meet capacity. The model at that time projected the peak of the pandemic, when resources would be exhausted, would occur on April 23.

IHME is an independent global health research center at the University of Washington. The center’s fluid models, which have been created for all 50 states plus many countries, have also been cited by the White House.

The model also originally predicted the state would gradually increase in the number of deaths per day until it hit its peak, 80 deaths, on April 23, but the peak was since adjusted to April 13, when the model predicted 22 would die. The number of dead per day is projected to decline, ultimately reaching 0 by May 11.

The IHME model, which runs through early August, also predicted approximately 2,537 North Carolinians would die by Aug. 4, but that number has dramatically been reduced to now 415 deaths by the same date.

The data seems to suggest that social distancing measures and people isolating at home have been successful in helping to flatten the curve. People should still continue with the practices because if the measures are eased too quickly, the numbers could potentially spike up again, officials said.

As of Friday afternoon, the state has 5,859 confirmed cases, 152 deaths and 429 people are currently hospitalized, according to data from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. Stanly County has 20 cases, including two deaths and approximately 600 tests have been performed, according to the health department.

The country’s projected peak occurred on April 10 and it still needs an additional 3,500 hospital beds and roughly 14,000 ventilators, though much lower than in past projections. The IHME model projects 68,841 people will die from the virus, much lower than the estimated 81,114 from a few weeks ago.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

email author More by Chris