Post-reopening COVID-19 model predicts twice as many Floridians could die by August

Nearly 4,000 Floridians could die by August in the latest prediction.

After updating the methodology for its COVID-19 pandemic model this week, a group affiliated with the University of Washington predicted nearly 4,000 Floridians could die by August in the average scenario, double its previous prediction.

Between the model‘s previous revision on Wednesday and the latest update on Monday, Florida began Phase One of its reopening, coincidentally announced Wednesday and implemented Monday. The model, produced by The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), began accounting for reopenings and what services are reopening.

In the model’s likeliest scenario, 3,971 will die from COVID-19 by Aug. 4. On Wednesday, it predicted the death toll would plateau at 1,898 in June.

Even as the projected death toll doubled, it still remains below the 6,766 deaths predicted by the end of summer before the state’s stay-at-home order began.

When the state began restricting businesses, schools and other services in mid-March, mobility — as tracked by phone data — took a nose-dive. When the stay-at-home order began, mobility bottomed-out at 56% less than a typical April.

But with the stay-at-home order lifted in most of the state, people will likely be back in public, yet not as much as before. The model estimates mobility will increase from an estimated 44% deficit on the first day of Phase One to a 34% deficit.

The model does not factor in that Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, the state’s COVID-19 hot spot, did not reopen with the rest of the state Monday. Additionally, it assumes existing restrictions will remain in place into August, but that is almost certainly not the case.

Based on IHME’s model, Florida is likely already past the peak of daily deaths. But the state’s outbreak will now likely continue through July when the model previously predicted fatalities would stop by late June.

The peak of daily deaths could have landed on May 1, as test results over the past few days continue to trickle in. But Department of Health data shows that peak on April 17, when 53 Floridians died of COVID-19.

As many as 142 Floridians could die per day in late June in the worst-case scenario. As many as 11,269 or as few as 1,911 Floridians could die by Aug. 4. As of Tuesday, 1,471 Floridians have died and 65 nonresidents have died in the state.

As of the Monday update, the model began plotting mobility, daily confirmed infections, daily estimated infections and daily testing, although some of that data was already tracked behind the scenes. Temperature, population density, testing per capita and changes in mobility are now influencing the model’s predictions.

Nationally, the model predicts between 95,092 and 242,890 fatalities by the end of August, but it lists 134,475 as its average.

Several states, including Florida, were tagged with an additional 2,000 average deaths during the revision. Indiana received one of the worst revisions, jumping from 1,041 anticipated deaths to 6,248.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has expressed frustration with reports citing the institute’s projections, particularly earlier projections that were far higher before Florida began seriously locking down and flattening its curve of infection growth.

A consensus of models used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which do not include the IHME model, projects Florida’s outbreak will result in 2,000 COVID-19 deaths by May 30. IHME predicts 2,432 deaths by the same date.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • BlueHeron

    May 5, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    “Gov. Ron DeSantis has expressed frustration with reports citing the institute’s projections, particularly earlier projections that were far higher before Florida began seriously locking down and flattening its curve of infection growth.”

    Perhaps my brain is mush from staying at home….
    DeSantis whining about the earlier and higher “hair on fire” projections (before restrictions) being a problem given the reality that Florida (with restrictions) has fared better than those projections. Why frustrated? The #’s were better.

    Is this fools logic from DeSantis? Cause I cannot comprehend this man.

  • martin

    May 6, 2020 at 7:04 am

    There has not been an accurate model to date. These models all predict the worse case scenario. That of the sky is falling. What we do know to date is; the more we test the higher the number of total infections, and the lower the fatality rate becomes.

    The fatality rate is currently at .03% of total infected. Of that, 80% of fatalities have occurred or are occurring in those over the age of 82. 40% of those fatalities to this age group have occurred or are occurring in nursing homes and other senior care facilities.

    Our politicians have been too busy locking down the general population and quarantining the vital, young, work force. Yet they have ignored the most vulnerable among our population. Cuomo and other governors have defied all logic by insisting that infected seniors be released from hospitals and be re-admitted to their senior care facilities. This has created the perfect storm of infection among this specific population.

    No one in the media has even raised this issue. Instead the media has created total panic in the general population, while not questioning why our state and local governments have been allowed to destroy our economy.

    Wake up people!!

    • Charlotte Greenbarg

      May 6, 2020 at 10:53 am

      Exactly! Media and forecasts trying to discredit DeSantis and Trump. The far left at work

  • Sonja Fitch

    May 6, 2020 at 7:35 am

    Duffus Desantis we the people are doing the damn work of social distancing washing hands and wearing masks. Stfu whining! Congratulations are on order for ALL of Florida. Duffus Desantis. Get the damn scientist to figure out how. So we Florida will be a model ! Duffus Desantis is just another goptrumpcult puppet. Trust yourself and people of Florida Duffus Desantis !

  • facts

    May 6, 2020 at 8:32 am

    Pre-COVID-19 – 532 people a day, on average, died in Florida. People have so much emotional, political, and even spiritual investment in this being an apocalyptic event that now they’re just doubling down on the hysteria and ignoring the data. Look at the data. You’re crushing the economic and social welfare of millions of people just to extend the Boomers’ lives a few more years. You’re sick.

  • Victor Poindexter

    May 6, 2020 at 10:09 am

    One week into April this model predicted 7,000 deaths by June 1. To say that the current forecast is double an earlier prediction is irresponsible. It is half of an earlier prediction.

  • Glenn Reihing

    May 6, 2020 at 11:01 am

    Looking at the modeling is nothing more than a prediction.

    What we should be looking at is the past 60 days worth of statistics in order to see if our methods to mitigate this disease spread has been effective. If not, why?

    We should also make sure that we are up to the challenge by making sure that our healthcare institutions have at least a 90-day backup supply of PPE’s in order for them to carry out their obs in a safe and competent manner.

    • Robert Melkin

      May 8, 2020 at 6:39 pm

      Exactly! And if it’s wrong, it will just be Darwinism doing its job, killing off dumb people! Win win either way!

Comments are closed.


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