Model: Coronavirus deaths expected to rapidly decline in the spring

Posted at 5:51 PM, Jan 15, 2021

With millions of those most vulnerable to the coronavirus getting vaccinated, there is some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.

In new data released by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the daily number of coronavirus deaths is expected to rapidly decline, but not before things get slightly worse.

“By May 1, some states may be close to herd immunity,” the IHME says. “If more transmissible variants spread in the US in the coming weeks, the peak could be delayed by weeks and the death toll substantially increased. Hospitals in many states will be under severe stress in the next four weeks. Expanding mask use, timely reintroduction of some social distancing mandates, and more rapid scale-up of vaccination remain the best options for reducing the death toll.”

Currently, there have been more than 3,000 coronavirus-related deaths reported per day in the US this month. The IHME model projects could peak at the end of January at around 3,700 coronavirus-related deaths per day.

By March 1, that number is expected to drop to 1,700 deaths per day. By April 1, the IHME projects 616 deaths per day, and by May 1, the last day the model extends to, the number is down to 202 deaths per day.

Even with the rapidly declining numbers, an additional 180,000 coronavirus-related deaths are expected between now and May 1. By May 1, the IHME projects that 37% of the US would still be susceptible to the virus.

The IHME cautions that these figures could increase if social distancing and mask mandates are eased.

Since last March, the US has averaged more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths per day.

To read the full model, click here.