Key COVID-19 model now forecasting earlier peak in Florida
The latest projections from the The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington now predicts Florida's worst days with the coronavirus crisis will come around April 21.

IHME Projections 04062020
Just as deadly in long run. Much deadlier at crunchtime, now seen as April 21.

Editor’s note: This model has since been revised. Florida Politics latest coverage is available here.

A University of Washington coronavirus pandemic model that has become widely influential in projecting states’ crisis levels has been revised to call for a much sooner peak in Florida, with the worst now expected around April 21.

That’s a full 12 days sooner than the previous projection put out last week by The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent population health research center at UW Medicine.

The model now predicts a higher peak but shorter peak time for Florida. The revision appears based on new data, and on the institute’s assessment that Florida has not done enough to “flatten the curve” of coronavirus contagion, and so must expect a sooner yet sharper rise, now heading toward a peak over the next 15 days.

The model predicts that Florida’s crisis will be no less deadly, just more concentrated.

The institute had previously developed projections with the anticipation that Florida would fully shut down by late March, but Gov. Ron DeSantis did not issue his stay-at-home order to take effect until last Friday.

By April 21 the Sunshine State could be seeing 242 people dying per day of COVID-19. And when it is all over by late summer the state’s death toll could reach 6,770, according to the institutes’ latest projections.

That remains among the nation’s worst predicted death tolls. The institute predicts 15,618 New Yorkers will die, as well as 9,690 New Jersey residents, and 8,254 Massachusetts residents. Florida’s predicted death toll is next highest.

The institute’s previous run of projections, as reported on March 31, estimated Florida should peak around May 3 with 174 deaths per day from the disease, yet still run out to 6,766 total deaths from COVID-19 by the end of the summer.

The new projections represent just the most likely scenario. The institute works with a wide range of uncertainty that could mean things are either much better or much worse than its line of most-likely projections. And the area of possibility the institute depicts for Florida now is much higher and spikier than its previously-reported projections.

It is possible, the institute allows with its model, that Florida’s worst death toll might be only slightly more than 100 fatalities per day, coming around April 24. It’s also possible the worst could be as bad as more than 1,000 deaths per day from COVID-19, coming around April 17.

The institute’s projections model also that Florida’s need for hospital beds and intensive care unit beds also will peak around April 21, also moved forward from a previous expectation that the worst would come on May 3.

The overall picture for hospital bed and ICU bed needs are not significantly different from the earlier projections. The institute still concludes Florida would have adequate hospital beds, projecting a peak need for about 13,000, while about 20,000 should be available. The institute concludes Florida would not have enough ICU beds however, with the need peaking at about 2,500, while only about 1,700 would be available on April 21.

At the worst, Florida would need 2,095 ventilators, the institute projects.

Once again, those are the projections that occur along the institute’s most-likely scenario line, and the range of uncertainty is much higher and much lower. And, as with the deaths projections, the worst case scenario spikes far higher than it did previously, when the institute was predicting a longer, flatter curve.

Best-case scenario, at the bottom of the institute’s uncertainty range: Florida would need only 9,000 hospital beds and 1,600 ICU beds, around April 22. Worst-case scenario, at the top of the uncertainty range: Florida would need about 35,000 hospital beds, and 5,900 ICU beds on April 15.

The revised projection comes as Florida coronavirus cases continue to jump by 1,000-plus daily and the death count jumps by double-digits in the Department of Health.

Between DOH’s Sunday evening and Monday morning reports, another 974 cases were reported, for a total of 13,324 statewide. In the same timeframe, deaths attributed to COVID-19 rose by 15. As of Monday morning, 236 Floridians have died in the outbreak.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


  • Dead Manwalkknh

    April 6, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    It’s infuriating that we’ve destroyed our society for 80yo former smokers and the weakest amongst us. I have been ruined financially by this virus I will end up killing my self so that my family has insurance money to live on.

    • Deborah

      April 7, 2020 at 9:37 pm

      You are a sorry bastard!

  • Ed Davis

    April 6, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    I may have obtained my bachelor’s and master’s degrees before this new math was instituted so maybe the new math comes up with a different answer. Scott Powers stated in the article that the projections predict a total of 6,770 people in Florida will die of the virus. If 6,770 is divided by the total population of Florida of 21 million that equates to .0003% of Floridians that are predicted to die. So we have shut down our economy, put people into bread lines, increased suicides, child abuse, domestic violence, and trampled numerous constitutional rights all in an effort for .0003% of the population?

    • john

      April 7, 2020 at 5:38 pm

      yikes, new math? bachelors and master degrees? at least you got 1 in 3000 deaths, its just you forgot what they teach in middle school about where to put the decimal point. Remember its the little mistakes that turn small numbers in to larger ones.

      • Michael stewart

        April 8, 2020 at 6:05 pm

        one thing not accounted for is that 3/4 or more of floridians wont even know they have the virus and will not be tested so the percentage chance of dying from this is way way lower

        • john stewart

          April 9, 2020 at 1:35 am

          let me unpack this like a test question, is 3/4 get the virus and the virus death rate is 1 percent what is the percent of those who are infected die. The answer is still 1 percent. Also this 1 percent number become more likely a outcome if the population does not know it is infected.

  • Ed Davis

    April 6, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    There were a total of 58,820 American military personnel that were killed in Vietnam. The total population of the USA in 1965 was 194 million. That equates to .0003% of the US population that was killed in Vietnam. Why did we have people being killed in Vietnam for nearly a decade at the rate of .0003% of the population yet the loss of life continued? Were the lives of those 58,000 Americans worth less than the lives of Americans living today? What a slap in the face to those honorable 58,000 Americans who gave their life in Vietnam to be told today that their life was worth less than anyone alive today in the USA.

  • Sonja Fitch

    April 6, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    Watched desantis today. Will not watch again. Just like the paranoid delusional liar trump. Desantis was enjoying accolades from folks working for Florida citizens. Not just you desantis!! Desantis stfu. Time will tell so far time tells me you were a coward in making decisions to serve and protect Floridians. I don’t give a damn if it was one human you killed because you are a stupid and a coward

  • Bill Newton

    April 6, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    How will we know what the number really are? You think they’ll tell us the truth? I’m not so sure. DeSantis keeps things under tight control, so hard to imagine he’ll let the real numbers out. Who’s going to check on him? The Legislature? The Feds? Sorry, no confidence. You’ll know whatever he wants you to know unless we get some leakers or whistleblowers that get word out before they’re caught.

  • comeonguys

    April 6, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    For those who are unhappy because only a few thousand people will die from this in FL because of sheltering in place, if we did nothing, 70% of the population would have contracted this virus. At a mortality rate of 1%, that would mean about 150k dead in FL alone. 21.3 million total population, 14.9 million 70% of total fl population, 150k = 1 percent of 14.9 million.

  • Smb

    April 6, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    Thank you for publishing a graph with Coronavirus projections. The State should be showing us its projections daily, just like Cuomo does for New York. We should know what we are facing.

  • Leigh

    April 6, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    So this is based off us still social distancing, right? So basically we’ll be locked up until June! They need to go ahead and cancel schools.

  • Isaac Epperson

    April 7, 2020 at 7:59 am

    Are there any models on metro areas as opposed to the whole state? Clearly the Miami area is throwing off numbers for the whole state.

    Any chance we can get State Universities to create these antibody tests so we can get some indication on how many people have already had this thing.

    Lost all confidence in the CDC and FDA. They’ve screwed up this entire thing.

  • Wishididntlivehere

    April 7, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    Shame on Governor De Santis for cow towing to his wealthy donors who wanted business open. He is not interested in the people of Florida. He is only interested in profits. And he is Trump’s big buddy and most likely will receive the ventilators. Frequent guest a Mira Lago and all.

  • Joel Watts

    April 7, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    scott powers dont know shit
    this so called institute thinks this fukin virus
    will last thru summer bs.
    china shouldve contained the virus, they failed
    because of those filthy wet markets they have.
    They mistreat animals, loss of life is unbelieveable
    never should of happened.

  • Lisa Martell

    April 8, 2020 at 10:50 pm scan down the page
    Y’all need to have a look at the Florida Department of Health covid-19 data and surveillance graphs. It’s easy to decipher. State level data, county level data as well as by zip code. Updated by FDOH twice per day. The #’s are going UP, not down.There are confirmed cases in 66 of our 67 counties. There is also a daily report (pdf) which breaksdown the #’s by age, race/ethnicity, testing, etc…
    Not just OLD people folks. The largest positive cases are from age 25-64 so, there’s that.
    All data must be reported by each hospital/other medical professionals to the Dept of Health in their own county. What happens to it once it reaches Tally? Call me naive but it’s not likely to be different. There are numerous health organizations around the country who are tracking this data very closely.
    IMO there is no way the 15K+ confirmed is all we are dealing with.A lot more testing needs to be done. How do we deal with what we don’t know.
    DeSantis waited way too long and only pulled the trigger on some executive orders until he felt comfy that POTUS wouldn’t break up with him. I agree that we should be hearing from him on a daily basis. Tell it straight and tell us what he’s doing about various issues which may or may not prevent our ability to deal with it once it hits the fan. To me, his message is essentially “meh”. Lost business? Absolutely and it’s biblical. But what we once knew as normal is gone forever. Society will change and hopefully for the better. We must find a way to grow the kahones necessary to deal with the new reality. Our economy WILL NOT recover unless we know how many cases are out there and come up with a rational and intelligent plan moving forward. Can the economy really come back with gusto as it needs to if covid is neither stopped nor contained? Anyone for a round two?
    Now, if you can, stay inside or be smart if you need to be out in the world. Sounds hokey but our lives and livelihoods are dependent upon each other.
    So, DON’T go out unless it’s necessary.

Comments are closed.


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