HOUSTON – April 19 is the new projected peak of coronavirus in Texas, according to data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine. The peak was originally slated for May 2.
Dr. Peter Hotez, dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine who was on the council at IHME, told KPRC 2 he is looking at the numbers and advising the city on stay-at-home policies.
“At one point it was May 2nd, then May 5th and now it looks more toward the end of April, but that was enough ammo to talk to city leaders about keeping the social distancing aggressively in place to the end of the month and then we’ll have to see on what happens,” Hotez said.
Texas COVID-19 projections:
Projected deaths in Texas dramatically decline
Another big development is that the projected number of coronavirus-related deaths is way down.
On April 1, the statisticians at IHME suggested the mean number of deaths in Texas through the first wave of COVID-19 would be 6,392. Now IHME has revised that estimate down to 2,025.
Why the big adjustments?
“Many states have put out much more detailed data,” said Christopher Murray, director at IHME.
Additionally, when the projections were first released, China was the only country that had reached its peak. Now some countries in Europe have also peaked, so IHME can lean on some of their trends.
The better the data, the better the predictions and in the case of Texas, it’s a much rosier picture. But, beware there’s still a lot the experts don’t know.
"We don't entirely understand the modes of transmission and the full reproductive number of the virus and what goes into affecting case fatality rates," Hotez said.
However, with this new more favorable outlook for Texas, Hotez does not recommend a change in the stay-home policy for Harris County.
The plan, for now, is that the stay home order will remain in place through April 30, and it will be re-evaluated closer to that date.