By Zach Hester, Reporter • firstname.lastname@example.org
ALABAMA — A model cited by the White House for projecting COVID-19 data has further lowered the projected impact of the novel coronavirus in Alabama.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model, based in the state of Washington, now predicts 351 coronavirus-related deaths in the State of Alabama through August, assuming social distancing measures are followed through the month of May. Daily deaths are projected to peak at 11 on April 23.
Earlier this month, the model predicted Alabama to have the highest death rate per capita and the fourth-highest death rate in the nation, but that projection has now been updated to reflect Alabama’s more stringent social distancing measures, including Governor Ivey’s issuance of a stay-at-home order. At the time, the model projected nearly 10,000 coronavirus-related deaths in Alabama. The model was then lowered to around 5,500 deaths and has continued to fall as mitigation efforts across the state appear to be working.
The model states that Alabama’s hospitals will not be overwhelmed as previously reported. At the time of press, the model states the need for 299 beds out of a total of 5,743 beds statewide, 89 of 474 ICU beds, and 81 ventilators.
“The IHME site...is probably the most widely used one in the country...what we believe with IHME and several other models is the timeline is pretty accurate,” said Alabama Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris in an interview with APTV’s Capitol Journal. “We feel like as they predict the peak number of cases, we know about when that is. Most of the models agree for Alabama it is going to be around April 19 or 20 or 21, something like that. But what we really don’t know is what the magnitude of that peak is going to be.”
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), Alabama has almost 4,000 coronavirus cases with 105 deaths reported. As of April 14, DeKalb County has 28 cases out of 268 tested. The ADPH reports 493 total hospitalizations at this time.