IHME: Florida’s COVID-19 Peak Was Two Weeks Ago

Apr 20, 2020

An influential COVID-19 projection now says Florida may have passed its peak of COVID-19 cases, in part because the state’s stay-at-home order is working better than expected.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Washington State, whose projections are often cited by the White House, now projects Florida will have 1,363 cumulative deaths by August 4. That’s a 71 percent drop from the last update.

Even at the upper levels of the projection, IHME says Florida will have enough hospital and ICU beds.

Dr. Ali Mokdad, Chief Strategy Officer of Population Health for IHME, said they are looking at some minor discrepancies between Florida’s statistics and the statistic John Hopkins University uses for its model.

“The epi curve for Florida that we have is still correct as we average cases and have multiple models to account for the ups and down of the deaths,” Mokdad wrote in an email to WMFE. “We know now that some states report deaths the second day, we notice less cases on Sunday and Monday and a peak on Tuesday.”

According to the model, Florida could relax some containment measures starting June 1 – if the state restricts large gatherings, tests widely and quarantines the contacts of people who test positive.

Public health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, caution that opening the economy too soon could cause COVID-19 cases to rebound, particularly if there isn’t widespread availability of testing.