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New projections: Coronavirus deaths in MD, VA may be lower than first expected

Maryland's expected death toll down more than 50%, according to Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projections.

WASHINGTON — New projections out Wednesday estimate COVID-19 may not take as many lives in Maryland and Virginia as first expected.

Researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington now project 891 deaths in Virginia during the initial COVID-19 wave, down from a projection of 1,041 deaths earlier this week.

In Maryland, IHME is predicting 1,094 will die of COVID-19 – down more than 50% from the 2,326 deaths the research team expected as of Monday.

“I think the way to think about these forecasts, which are meant to be a service to those in hospitals trying to plan, is like a weather forecast,” said IHME Founder and Director Dr. Christopher Murray during a video chat press briefing with reporters on Monday. “They’re going change as data comes in, and it’s also a weather forecast where the methods for forecasting are being improved and refined everyday.”

In D.C., IHME's coronavirus death projections are actually up to 84 expected fatalities. The researchers previously put that number at 58.

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“In some states we are seeing a sort of see-saw pattern in daily deaths, one day way up, next day way down.” Dr. Murray said. “And that probably reflects the challenge of many states just being overburdened, of trying to trace the data, and get it released on a daily basis.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has stated previously she believes IMHE’s numbers were “too rosy” and that the city’s projections for the coronavirus' impact D.C. are far more grim.

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IHME also continues to predict that the District, Maryland and Virginia are all on the verge of hitting their peak of coronavirus cases.

The center's model calls for Maryland to hit its COVID-19 peak April 17, and for Virginia to do so on April 20 – projections that are virtually unchanged from a few days ago.

In D.C., IHME expects the peak to come Thursday. The model previously projected that peak coronavirus cases may have already come and gone in the District.

IHME is an independent population health research center at UW Medicine, part of the University of Washington, that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world's most important health problems.

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