Peak of daily COVID-19 deaths still in Florida’s future, model now shows

Previous models suggested the virus' peak was in Florida's rearview mirror.

Despite flattening the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida may still yet see the peak of the disease’s fatal effects in the coming months.

Instead of the pandemic nearly dissipating by June, as in earlier predictions, deaths will instead hit their apex next month and continue into August, according to a model produced by The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). It predicts 5,440 Floridians could die by Aug. 4, around 1,500 more than its last prediction.

Sunday marked the first update to the model since Phase One of the state’s reopening began in earnest. The University of Washington-associated institute released the previous prediction Monday, day one of Phase One.

The model’s average projection puts the peak in the second week of June, when 60 Floridians could die daily. Deaths could peak at 152 a day in mid-June or they may peter out from now till August.

The model estimates 52 people died due to COVID-19 on Friday, the most in one day. State records show fatal cases peaked on April 17 when 56 Floridians died.

As of Sunday, 1,721 Floridians have died, according to the Department of Health.

With last week’s update, the model began tracking how much people are out and about using cellular location data. IHME factors mobility data into its model of the coronavirus’ spread.

Mobility dropped to 44% of the average when the state’s stay-at-home order began in April, but had climbed up to 57% by the end of the lockdown. As reopening begins, the model expects daily travel to reach 64% of the previous normal.

Despite the grimmer outlook for Florida, expected in part with society’s reopening, the predicted peak is much lower than what the model showed before the lockdown. When IHME predicted 6,766 Floridians could die by August, it anticipated 174 daily deaths in a peak expected around this weekend.

After the stay-at-home order began, the model predicted 4,000 Florida deaths by early August with a peak of 112 deaths per day.

The state has more than 20,000 hospital beds at its disposal, according to the model, more than enough to account for even its projected worst-case scenario.

IHME’s model does not factor in that Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, the state’s COVID-19 hot spots, did not reopen with the rest of the state last week. However, Gov. Ron DeSantis has cleared Palm Beach County to reopen Monday.

Additionally, it assumes existing restrictions will remain in place into August, but that is not the case. Barbershops and salons also reopen Monday.

The Governor has expressed frustration with reports citing the institute’s and other models, particularly earlier projections that were far higher before he issued a statewide stay-at-home order.

Nationally, the model predicts between 102,783 and 223,489 fatalities by early August, but it lists 137,184 as its average, about 3,000 more than its previous average. The model suggests the nation passed its peak in fatal cases in mid-April.

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.


  • Enough

    May 11, 2020 at 11:06 am

    I also suspect we haven’t hit the worst yet, but these graphs increasingly look like those peak oils graphs we were fed a steady diet of in the 80s, 90s, and 00s.

  • Howard Wemple

    May 11, 2020 at 11:29 am

    How can ANYONE be stupid enough to quote ANY model predicting ANYTHING about the Wuhan virus?!?!? ALL of them have been horrendously wrong! And yet, you UNQUESTIONINGLY repeat them! Why, do you want the panic to continue?

    • Steve

      May 12, 2020 at 9:52 am

      The media and model makers have nothing better to do. I remember the University of Washington’s original model predicted 6500 deaths in FL by June 1. And that took stay at home orders into consideration. I would like to get into the prediction business. I predict there will be deaths in FL in 2020, a major hurricane may hit the US this year, and Biden or Trump will win the election.

    • Sonja Fitch

      May 12, 2020 at 6:12 pm

      Projections are what we have cause there ain’t enough testing! Duh. Tracing and quarantine are needed. The covid 19 question is not If. But WHEN you! Duffud Desantis is more than willing to kill for money. Duh

      • Yoly Perez

        May 13, 2020 at 2:00 pm

        THERE IS TESTING!!! all test sites are open and available for testing yet there is no one in line!! we have been quarantined since March 13th when the stay at home was suggested so at this point I personally am no longer quarantining. You can stay home all you freaking want!

  • KAH

    May 11, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    So many people are discussing the “Harsh Mystery Virus” they had back in early January. So many especially in Florida! Yet it only frustrates me how many officials refuse to respond to the idea of proposing an inquiry. Perhaps the CDC knew about this outbreak when it actually began, weeks before we heard of it? Or maybe our local medical personnel had no idea how to respond to the data, if they were even collecting the number of patients with negative results to all available viral test kits. But let’s ignore all those people who were sick for 6 weeks straight! They shouldn’t count, because COVID-19 didn’t exist BEFORE the smart scientists knew about it. That would make them “Not All Knowing.” We can’t put the deadly virus behind us yet! The mere idea would cause elected officials to go to work for their money.

  • Rachel Rios

    May 13, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    Here’s the thing, the models will always have a margin of error. Secondly, each of the counties mayors who actually acted before DeSantis decided to do something about were the ones who actually made those predictions model look bad. If you want to go out and not wear a mask that’s your proactive. However, just remember if it didn’t happen to you it doesn’t mean that’s is not happening. I already know one of my closes friend that his elderly cousin die due to the virus. Also new studies are reporting that it does affect kids. They’re between the ages of 5 to 14 years old. Unfortunately, my son falls into that category and he’s also a high risk. But don’t worry I will keep myself and my family save while the Darwin Effect takes place.

Comments are closed.


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