New COVID-19 model predicts when your state could reopen


April 18, 2020

COVID19-reopening

New projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) show some states could safely reopen as early as May 4. (AdobeStock)

When will your state reopen from its COVID-19 shutdown?

New projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) indicate that it may be safe to start the reopening process as early as May 4 for some states, but as late as June 29 for others.

The latest projections are an outgrowth of IHME’s continued work to forecast the scope of the epidemic in every state and in several other countries. They come as the group’s work, which has been influential from the White House to statehouses, is attracting criticism from some disease experts.

Data shifts and changes

“We are now entering the phase of the epidemic when government officials are considering when certain types of distancing policies may be eased,” IHME officials said in a news release on Friday, April 17. “With today’s release, we provide initial estimates that can serve as an input to such considerations in the US.”

In a media briefing Friday, IHME director Dr. Chris Murray cautioned that the potential “opening dates” represent a first take and are likely to change as more information comes in from individual states. Among the key variables are whether deaths are likely to drop sharply once they peak, or whether—as seems to be occurring in New York—they will plateau and decrease slowly.

Another main factor will be how soon states can quickly diagnose and isolate newly infected people and everyone they have come in contact with. States that bolster their health departments and expand testing capacity might be able to start opening up sooner, Murray said.

‘Opening’ isn’t a return to normalcy

The dates represent the modelers’ best estimate of when the daily new infection rate in each state will drop below one per 1 million people.

The reopening estimates assume that when social distancing policies will be eased, they happen in conjunction with public health containment strategies—including widespread testing, contact tracing, and isolation of new cases. They also assume that mass gatherings like concerts and professional sports will not be allowed through at least early summer.

Safe reopening dates, by state

State Safe opening date
(with containment)
Apex of
COVID-19 cases
(April 17 projection)
Total deaths
by June 1
(April 17 projection)
Alabama May 18 April 17 295
Alaska May 11 April 18 24
Arizona June 8 April 10 267
Arkansas June 22 April 30 155
California May 18 April 14 1,658
Colorado May 25 April 17 715
Connecticut June 1 April 16 2,732
Delaware May 18 April 17 143
District of Columbia June 8 April 15 170
Florida June 1 April 14 1,363
Georgia June 15 April 15 1,368
Hawaii May 4 April 18 38
Idaho May 11 April 10 63
Illinois May 25 April 17 2,259
Indiana May 25 April 15 903
Iowa June 29 May 7 603
Kansas June 1 April 17 187
Kentucky June 8 April 21 407
Louisiana May 18 April 14 1,685
Maine May 18 April 16 51
Maryland June 8 April 18 914
Massachusetts June 8 April 18 3,236
Michigan May 18 April 10 3,304
Minnesota May 25 April 18 195
Mississippi June 1 April 23 369
Missouri June 1 April 15 362
Montana May 4 April 17 17
Nebraska June 29 May 1 122
Nevada May 18 April 7 257
New Hampshire May 11 April 15 55
New Jersey June 1 April 15 6,952
New Mexico May 18 April 18 80
New York June 1 April 15 21,812
North Carolina May 11 April 15 251
North Dakota June 29 May 4 149
Ohio May 18 April 15 716
Oklahoma June 15 April 15 357
Oregon May 25 April 17 131
Pennsylvania June 1 April 15 1,707
Rhode Island June 8 April 23 438
South Carolina June 1 April 15 217
South Dakota June 22 May 10 94
Tennessee May 25 April 4 231
Texas June 1 April 15 957
Utah June 15 April 24 202
Vermont May 4 April 1 40
Virginia June 8 April 23 763
Washington May 18 April 5 694
West Virginia May 4 April 14 22
Wisconsin May 18 April 11 302
Wyoming May 25 April 30 243
The Associated Press contributed to this report. 
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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