ST. LOUIS — An institute creating projections used by the White House coronavirus task force is estimating Missouri and Illinois would see thousands of COVID-19 deaths before the end of the outbreak.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation(IHME), an institute that is part of the University of Washington, entered the headlines Tuesday when Dr. Deborah Birx said 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus pandemic are possible if social distancing is maintained. Her statement was backed up by data and projections from the institute.
IHME has its forecast published on its website. The projections are broken down by state and include estimated hospital and ICU beds needed, deaths per day and total deaths.
The estimates for Missouri say the state will hit the peak of its 'curve' for deaths per day on May 18. At that time, IHME estimates 22 people will be dying from COVID-19 every day.
Although the projections say Missouri will have enough hospital beds and ICU space for the additional demand brought by the coronavirus, they also estimate a total of 1,219 people will die from the disease. The final death in the state, the projection estimates, would be in the middle of July.
The peak date for hospital demand in Missouri also will be May 18, according to IHME.
Those numbers have a caveat, however. The conclusion of the forecast says the numbers are "predicated on the enactment of social distancing measures in all states that have not done so already within the next week and maintenance of these measures throughout the epidemic." Missouri has not implemented a statewide stay-at-home order or ordered the closure on non-essential businesses across the state.
In Illinois, those steps have been enacted, and the state is projected to have a sharper curve, but a shorter duration.
Illinois will need the most hospital resources on April 16, a little over two weeks from now. According to the estimates, the state would be short dozens of ICU beds and would need more than 1,000 ventilators.
The projections say the highest number of deaths per day will also occur on April 16. On that date, IHME estimates 88 people will die each day.
In total, IHME estimates 2,326 people will die in Illinois. The state's last death from COVID-19 will occur before the end of May, according to the forecast.
Illinois' population is more than twice that of Missouri, meaning both states will have similar rates of death per capita.
The conclusion of the forecast highlights the importance of social distancing measures.
"These estimates can help inform the development and implementation of strategies to mitigate this gap, including reducing non-COVID-19 demand for services and temporarily increasing system capacity. These are urgently needed given that peak volumes are estimated to be only three weeks away."