Wisconsin’s coronavirus peak now expected April 26 – but it’s a ‘moving target’ that depends on social distancing.

By Devi Shastri and Daphne Chen
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
March 31, 2020

A prominent research center at the University of Washington released a report Monday predicting the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic will hit Wisconsin hospitals in late April, causing 37 deaths on the outbreak’s peak day and creating a large shortage of ICU beds.

The projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation have been revised significantly since an initial report released Thursday predicted the epidemic would hit Wisconsin hospitals hardest in late May, the latest in the nation.
Wisconsin’s peak day is now expected to be April 26, nearly two weeks after the projected national peak of April 15…

Mustafa Hussein, a health economist and social epidemiologist with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said IHME’s model is one of the most reliable to date
But as with any predictive model of coronavirus, it includes a wide range of estimates, he said.

“We should take these estimates seriously, but with the grain of salt that there is so much uncertainty surrounding the whole situation,” Hussein said.

For example, while institute researchers project 37 deaths per day at the virus’ peak in Wisconsin, the true number could range between three and 183, according to the model.

What is clear is that even the states with the worst outbreaks have yet to reach their peak, Hussein added.

“It is depressing, but what we can do now is really take these signals, these pieces of information, and motivate ourselves for action,” Hussein said. “[Be] responsible not only for ourselves but for everyone out there and just stay at home and follow the guidelines. This cannot be emphasized enough…”

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