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Current projections for total number of deaths directly attributed to COVID-19 range from 88,000 to 300,000. These projections assume that there will NOT be a resurgence of the virus as states re-open and that the disease will largely be gone by July.  Both of these are widely viewed as dubious assumptions. These numbers also do not take into consideration the significant increase in excess mortality we are seeing throughout the United States and around the world, even taking COVID-19-attributed deaths into account. Experts fully expect that the final tally of COVID-related deaths will be significantly more than currently reported. But even with the assumptions of a rapid falling-off of the viral infections, the projected deaths are on track to possibly exceed all leading causes of death in the nation (leading causes of death include number of deaths for the 5 months that COVID is presumed to be active.)

 

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Most of the country is not yet experiencing declining numbers of COVID-19 cases, which health guidelines indicate is necessary for re-opening our communities.

 

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Nonetheless, most states have already begun the process of re-opening.

 

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While Kentucky has successfully flattened its curve, it has yet to show the extended period of decline needed to declare ourselves out of the woods and ready to re-open — a “squashing” of the curve. Our cases are still rising and falling day by day. 

 

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We see similar trends for the Cincinnati MSA.

 

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Updating the primary forecasting outcomes from last week (graph on the left) and then combining them into a single prediction (red line in the right graph), we can see that the joint forecast is that deaths from COVID-19 will continue through May. Indeed, only one forecasting model suggests that deaths will cease in early May. I note that all of these models assume that social distancing measures continue through May.

 

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Analysis by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic will last 18-24 months, even with mitigation measures. They identify three possible scenarios for infection, based on comparing the COVID-19 outbreak with a variety of  past influenza pandemics and recommend that all localities plan for Scenario 2.

 

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