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Models show COVID-19 activity reaching peak in Ga. sooner than expected

Government officials to infectious disease experts are often using models from Univ. of Washington to track the estimated impact of COVID-19

ATLANTA — COVID-19 activity in Georgia is expected to peak in two weeks according to updated forecasts from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington's School of Medicine. 

IHME updated its models on Sunday, bumping up the dates for peak activity in Georgia by two days. 

Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease expert with Emory University has touted the models from IHME as the best for tracking the disease. However, del Rio said that like any model, the estimates are constantly changing.

"Models are changing all the time because as more accurate data is coming, you keep on changing the models," del Rio said. "That is just a reality of modeling."

April 20 is now estimated to be the busiest day for Georgia hospitals. The number of deaths per day is projected to reach a peak on April 21, with 137 deaths on that date alone.

The previous peak for hospital resources needed, according to models released on March 30, was listed as April 22 for Georgia.

The same models had previously listed April 23 as the peak date for deaths per day, indicating 84 deaths in a single day.

IHME has also updated its estimates for the overall COVID-19 death toll by August 4, 2020. 

An estimate released on March 30 predicted 2,777 total deaths by early August. The latest models have now increased the projected overall death toll to 3,413. 

While the estimates for deaths in Georgia have increased overall, the numbers nationally are improving. 

On Sunday, in a coronavirus task force briefing, President Donald Trump said, "In the coming days, America will endure the peak of this terrible pandemic." 

RELATED: Coronavirus in Georgia: Confirmed cases climb to 7,314 with 229 deaths

The estimates from IHME show nationally, COVID-19 activity in hospitals is anticipated to reach a peak on April 15.

Last week, models from the institute predicted 93,531 deaths from the virus by August 4, but the nationally predicted death toll has now been lowered to 81,766.

The predicted number of hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators needed nationally also declined based on the latest model data.

Dr. Christopher Murray, director of IHME, said the decreases nationally are due to the actions of communities nationwide.

“As we noted previously, the trajectory of the pandemic will change – and dramatically for the worse – if people ease up on social distancing or relax with other precautions," Murray said. "Our projections are strengthened by the new downturns in more regions. This is evidence that social distancing is crucial. Our forecasts assume that social distancing remains in place until the end of May.”

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus.  We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information. 

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

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