Is your state flattening the COVID-19 curve? Here’s the latest data


April 5, 2020

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Over the past five days, mortality estimates in some states have changed dramatically. (AdobeStock)

As New York braces for an expected peak of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths this coming week, residents in some other states are successfully reducing their expected death toll by staying home and social distancing.

According to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), the global go-to source for reliable modeling of the COVID-19 virus’ path, New York’s coronavirus hospitalizations are expected to peak this coming Wednesday, April 8. The IHME model predicts more than 15,000 deaths caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus in New York State by June 1, 2020.

That extraordinarily high mortality rate is expected largely because the number of patients requiring hospitalization (an estimated 25,000) far outnumbers the state’s 13,000 available hospital beds.

Nationwide, the latest IHME model reduced the expected number of COVID-19 deaths to 81,000. That figure had been 93,000 as of late last week. The new lower mortality estimate is the result of nearly all states implementing stay-at-home orders.

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Social distancing through May?

The new national mortality estimate also assumes that full social distancing measures will remain in place nationwide through May 2020. That may come as a bit of a shock to many Americans who currently expect the nation’s radical shutdown to ease at the end of April.

In the West Coast states that saw the earliest outbreaks—California, Washington, and Oregon—quick action by state government leaders and early shutdown orders seem to be working. On April 1, the IHME model predicted 1,545 total COVID-19 deaths in Washington state by June 1. But only five days later, on April 6, the same model reduced that mortality estimate to 977. That’s a savings, in theory, of 568 lives.

Keeping the curve under the line

The phrase flattening the curve means taking measures to make sure the number of hospitalized patients (the bell curve) remains below the graph line representing the number of available hospital beds. (It can also be a measure of ICU beds, or ventilators.) The importance of flattening the curve is illustrated by New York State, which is suffering such tragically high mortality because the number of patients is overwhelming the state’s medical capacity, as shown in this IHME graph of patients plotted against available beds:

New York State: COVID-19 patients and hospital bed capacity

New York’s patient count (the dash line) broke through the state’s 13,000 bed capacity in late March. (Chart via IHME, University of Washington)

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom instituted the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order on March 19. That has helped keep the state’s COVID-19 outbreak from overwhelming the state’s hospital bed capacity of 26,000.

California: COVID-19 patients and hospital bed capacity

California’s patient count remains relatively low, and doesn’t even approach the state’s 26,600 bed capacity. (Chart via IHME, University of Washington)

Governors leading where the White House won’t

With the federal government doing little to prepare or respond to the pandemic, state leaders have had to step up and lead. States where that happened early—like California and Ohio—are seeing positive results. Both states experienced early and dramatic shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, put in place by their governors. The IHME model now lists them among the states with the lowest projected per-capita mortality rate, around four deaths per 100,000 residents.

By contrast, Florida and Georgia, whose governors announced stay-at-home orders only late last week, are now projected to suffer around 32 deaths per 100,000 residents.

In some states, however, the virus arrived too early and the stay-at-home orders came too late. New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey are expected to suffer among the worst casualty rate in the coming days and weeks, according to the IHME model.

To put that in perspective: New York has half the population of California, but is projected to record eight times the number of COVID-19 mortalities as the Golden State.

The IHME site is updated daily, and is always worth checking out here. In the meantime, we’ve gathered a simplified table, below, with the IHME data as of April 6, 2020.

State Apex of
COVID-19 cases
(April 1 projection)
Apex of
COVID-19 cases
(April 6 projection)
Total deaths
by June 1
(April 1 projection)
Total deaths
by June 1
(April 6 projection)
Total deaths per
100,000 residents
(April 1 projection)
Total deaths per
100,000 residents
(April 6 projection)
Alabama April 20 April 18 1,137 923 23.2 18.8
Alaska April 20 April 17 145 315 19.7 42.7
Arizona April 26 April 23 1,569 570 21.8 7.9
Arkansas April 22 April 24 729 297 24.3 9.9
California April 27 April 14 4,997 1,783 12.8 4.6
Colorado April 17 April 4 1,683 302 29.5 5.3
Connecticut April 13 April 21 414 5,466 11.5 153.1
Delaware April 18 April 5 236 50 24.4 5.2
District of Columbia April 17 April 3 384 58 54.9 8.3
Florida May 3 April 21 5,308 6,738 24.9 31.6
Georgia April 23 April 20 2,639 3,410 25.1 32.5
Hawaii May 1 April 12 351 155 24.7 10.9
Idaho May 1 April 14 442 69 25.3 3.9
Illinois April 16 April 16 2,326 3,629 18.25 28.5
Indiana April 18 April 17 906 1,681 13.5 25.1
Iowa April 18 April 26 759 420 23.7 13.3
Kansas April 27 April 19 684 265 23.6 9.1
Kentucky May 14 April 21 936 1,715 20.8 38.4
Louisiana April 10 April 1 1,978 746 42.4 16.0
Maine April 25 April 15 360 115 26.9 8.6
Maryland May 1 April 18 1,679 2,326 28.0 38.8
Massachusetts April 15 April 5 1,507 2,326 21.8 33.7
Michigan April 10 April 8 3,007 2,963 30.1 29.6
Minnesota April 18 April 23 1,039 625 18.6 11.2
Mississippi April 21 April 18 1,223 237 40.8 7.9
Missouri May 18 April 19 1,193 352 19.6 5.8
Montana April 26 April 13 258 22 25.8 2.1
Nebraska May 1 April 24 413 459 21.4 24.2
Nevada April 22 April 18 506 916 16.9 30.5
New Hampshire April 21 April 15 329 32 24.3 2.4
New Jersey April 8 April 15 1,844 9,690 20.7 108.9
New Mexico May 2 April 21 493 603 23.5 28.7
New York April 9 April 8 15,788 15,618 80.8 80.1
North Carolina April 23 April 13 2,446 496 23.6 4.8
North Dakota May 2 April 17 158 666 20.8 87.6
Ohio April 20 April 8 1,671 544 14.3 4.7
Oklahoma April 21 April 22 1,100 813 27.5 20.8
Oregon May 6 April 21 513 171 12.2 4.1
Pennsylvania April 16 April 11 1,574 782 12.3 6.1
Rhode Island April 19 April 27 254 964 24.0 91.8
South Carolina April 26 April 24 1,028 442 20.2 8.7
South Dakota May 2 April 25 191 178 21.6 20.2
Tennessee April 26 April 15 4,984 587 73.6 8.7
Texas May 5 April 19 5,768 2,024 20.1 7.1
Utah April 24 April 25 550 186 17.4 5.9
Vermont April 7 March 23 69 35 11.0 5.6
Virginia May 28 April 20 1,114 1,399 13.1 16.5
Washington April 19 April 11 1,545 977 20.5 13.0
West Virginia May 1 April 16 466 182 25.9 10.1
Wisconsin April 27 April 17 926 644 15.9 11.1
Wyoming May 3 April 29 134 119 23.2 20.6

Bruce Barcott's Bio Image

Bruce Barcott

Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.



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