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April 14

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A few days ago, I expressed skepticism of scientists claiming the coronvirus outbreak would peak in the U.S. in three weeks. But here we have a new model from the University of Washington School of Medicine claiming basically the same thing, that April 14 will be the peak day. Moreover, it projects a fairly significant decline after that, so that by May 1, the total beds and respirators needed would be only about half that peak and that by June 1, it has declined to the point of where we were about 10 days ago, with a total of just over 81,000 dead. Of course, there’s a range involved that could be much higher but also possibly lower, between 38,000 and 162,000 deaths. The model evidently also projects that effective social distancing will be taking place nationally and while I do think that will happen, states such as Florida and Alabama resisting that is clearly going to lead to further problems down the road. Models are of course messy and it’s unlikely to be this clean, but still, it’s worth noting.

I’d like to think that this will peak sooner rather than later, though that peak is going to be a horrible, awful time in this nation’s history, one with vastly overwhelmed hospitals and people dying at home who could be saved at a different time or with a different president who didn’t create this mess. And then of course, there’s the question of how to start reopening the nation while also containing the virus as it pops up. This all isn’t suddenly going to disappear in two months. But hopefully by then, we have good testing, antibody treatments, and are moving toward other effective treatments that bridge us toward a vaccine.

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