COVID-19 in PA: Peak coming within two weeks

WTAJ Plus

*Video was recorded on April 7, 2020*

ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Health experts in Pennsylvania predict that the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to surge to its peak within the next two weeks.

They are basing this information on global health research models such as the one created by the Institute for Health and Metrics Evaluation (IHME), a Washington- based organization.

IHME has been measuring the COVID-19’s projection rates since the first outbreak in January and bases its surge rate predictions off of global data from the pandemic.

For Pennsylvania, IHME predicts that April 11 will be the day that most state hospital resources, like beds and ventilators, will be needed.

It also predicts that April 15 will be the day our daily death rate is at its highest–with 32 deaths. Then, according to the data, the curve will start to slope downward, meaning we could see our last infection by mid-May.

WTAJ’s Darby Sparks spoke with a representative of Conemaugh Health about their opinion of IHME’s model:

“While nothing is perfect, we do feel that this is probably a good representation of when we can expect peak resource use and when we can expect the peak in terms of mortality.”

Emily Korns, Director of Marketing and Communications, Conemaugh Health System

Korns says that IHME is a reliable source and Conemaugh has been monitoring its projections closely for its own resources.

The Department of Health also gave a written response to the question of IHME’s validity. Their answer, in part, was:

“This model does assume full social distancing, which highlights why it is so important that people stay home…We won’t truly know the success of our social distancing efforts until we can see it reflected in our case data taking a downward turn” 

Nate Wardle, Press Secretary, Department of Health

The Department of Health emphasized the direct role all Pennsylvanians play in order for the model’s predictions to be accurate, mainly staying at home.

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