Courtesy of Business Insider
By Eva Lynch
While no one can accurately predict the duration of the current coronavirus situation, though many continue to speculate, predictions for peak days in each of the 50 states may serve as the most accurate informant of a prognosis.
Scientists and health professionals are able to make these predictions through examination of nationwide adherence to social distancing and other protective measures, historical examples such as the Spanish Flu—over a century ago—and the rate at which hospital resource usage and COVID-19 deaths continue to climb.
A state’s peak day is determined by the day on which maximum hospital resource utilization has occurred and the most coronavirus-related deaths have been reported, according to public health officials. So, while a peak date can be predicted, these two criteria may occur on different days, and a peak day can only be declared post facto.
The nationwide peak date has most recently been predicted to be April 13, meaning as a nation, the United States should already be beginning its decline. The nationwide peak resource utilization, most notably including hospital beds and ventilators, occurred on April 10, and that of COVID-19 deaths occurred on April 13, peaking at 2,150. President Trump confirmed this tentative declaration of victory at the daily White House briefing on April 15. This and the following information are based on predictions and data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, cited in White House briefings and most recently updated on April 13.
According to data from April 13, the predicted peak days by state are as follows:
- March 28: Colorado
- April 1: Vermont
- April 5: Washington
- April 6: Louisiana
- April 8: Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New York
- April 9: Delaware, District of Columbia, New Jersey
- April 11: Maryland
- April 14: Indiana, New Hampshire, Maine, Ohio, Wisconsin
- April 16: Pennsylvania, Tennessee
- April 17: California, North Carolina
- April 18: West Virginia
- April 18: Alaska
- April 20: Hawaii, Mississippi
- April 21: Alabama, Montana
- April 25: Connecticut
- April 26: New Mexico, Oregon
- April 27: Virginia
- April 28: Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri
- April 29: Kansas, Kentucky, North Dakota, Texas
- April 30: Arizona, Oklahoma, South Carolina
- May 1: Georgia, South Dakota
- May 2: Arkansas, Utah
- May 3: Florida, Nebraska, Rhode Island
- May 5: Iowa, Wyoming
It is important to note that while each state will reach its own peak day, operationalizations of “peak days” vary drastically by state, with New York’s now-passed peak reporting almost 800 deaths, while Wyoming may peak with only two coronavirus-related deaths per day.
Nationwide, the shortage of hospital beds needed tops 3,400, and the number of required ventilators, of which there is little to no reported shortage, is almost 14,000. The total number of projected deaths in the United States according to the most recently updated numbers is 68,841 by August 4, 2020. However, this number can fluctuate quickly and drastically—up to almost 180,000—if safety measures and social distancing precautions are shirked.
Since the start of the current crisis in the United States, the repeated mantra and direct goal of social distancing measures has been to “flatten the curve.” State-by-state predictions can tell us if these measures and others are actually working to achieve this goal. Because the projected total COVID-19 deaths has significantly lessened since original predictions, which asserted a possible 240,000 nationwide deaths, and projected peak days by individual state have moved closer, most recently including Florida’s, safety measures like social distancing, wearing masks and gloves, and self-quarantining, are and will continue helping to flatten the curve.