Coronavirus predicted to peak later, take more lives in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A national statistical model for tracking the fatal coronavirus across the United States has predicted Indiana will hit its patient peak on April 19th and record its 1160th and final death June 4th.

Each day this week, as outbreak and fatality numbers reported by the Indiana State Department of Health have come back higher than expected, the margin of error predicted by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has been blown out of the water.

This is a model local and state health experts have told FOX59 News they consult, among others, to chart Indiana’s COVID-19 outbreak path.           

“The reproduction ratio for this particular coronavirus is between two and four, meaning so for every one case, there’s going to be two or four more cases from that one case of disease,” said Tom Duszynski, Epidemiology Education Director at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. “Models are not perfect by any stretch. They are designed to try and predict based on what is currently happening.”

What is currently happening in Indiana is worse than the IHME model predicted, even beyond its margin of error.

This past Tuesday night, after the existence of the IHME model became widely reported, the statistics predicted Indiana would see a peak of coronavirus patient deaths between April 17th and April 22nd with an average daily death toll of 30 patients leading to a total of 906 deaths across the state ending on May 25th.

At the time, the model, drawing upon ISDH data, was predicting daily fatality totals in the single digits this week with a margin of error up to 15 deaths per day.

Beginning with reports issued Tuesday morning, ISDH listed 14, 16, 13 and 24 deaths through today bringing Indiana’s fatality total to 102 and meaning the virus’ march across Indiana was more fatal than predicted.

The IHME model, last updated Wednesday morning, predicted the state would not hit 24 deaths per day until April 10th and would not dip below that level until May 3rd.

Indiana has now hit that fatality pace a week early and its surge date has now been pushed out to April 19th and the date of its last fatality to June 4th.

“One thing you have to keep in mind is this particular virus has a really long incubation period,” said Duszynski. “Two to 14 days. Meaning from time you were exposed until the time you show symptoms could be anywhere from two days to fourteen days. So that has to be built into that model, too, to find out when that peak is gonna be.”

The statistics show that Hoosiers who will be hospitalized with the most severe symptoms during the surge will likely begin contracting the virus this weekend.

“Very smart people are monitoring this every day and updating these models to make sure that we have as good situational awareness as possible,” said Dr. Shaun Grannis, Vice President of Data and Analytics at the Regenstrief Institute. “And the good news is, if you follow social distancing and you are healthy, you should stay healthy.”

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