First COVID-19 Global Forecast: IHME Projects Three-Quarters of a Million Lives Could be Saved by January 1

'Deadly December' estimated with nearly 30,000 deaths each day as winter returns to the Northern Hemisphere

SEATTLE, Sept. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In the first global projections of the COVID-19 pandemic by nation, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington's School of Medicine is predicting nearly 770,000 lives worldwide could be saved between now and January 1 through proven measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing.

https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1156878/IHME_Logo.jpg [https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1156878/IHME_Logo.jpg ]

Cumulative deaths expected by January 1 total 2.8 million, about 1.9 million more from now until the end of the year. Daily deaths in December could reach as high as 30,000.

"These first-ever worldwide projections by country offer a daunting forecast as well as a roadmap toward relief from COVID-19 that government leaders as well as individuals can follow," said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray. "We are facing the prospect of a deadly December, especially in Europe, Central Asia, and the United States. But the science is clear and the evidence irrefutable: mask-wearing, social distancing, and limits to social gatherings are vital to helping prevent transmission of the virus."

The Institute modeled three scenarios:


-- A "worse case" in which mask usage stays at current rates and
governments continue relaxing social distancing requirements, leading to
4.0 million total deaths by the end of the year;
-- A "best case" of 2.0 million total deaths if mask usage is
near-universal and governments impose social distancing requirements
when their daily death rate exceeds 8 per million; and
-- A "most likely" scenario that assumes individual mask use and other
mitigation measures remain unchanged, resulting in approximately 2.8
million total deaths.
The references to 750,000 lives saved and 30,000 daily deaths in December represent the differences between the "best case" and "most likely" scenarios.

Each of these scenarios represents a significant increase over the current total deaths, estimated at nearly 910,000 worldwide. The increase is due in part to a likely seasonal rise in COVID-19 cases in the Northern Hemisphere. To date, COVID-19 has followed seasonal patterns similar to pneumonia, and if that correlation continues to hold, northern countries can anticipate more cases in the late fall and winter months.

"People in the Northern Hemisphere must be especially vigilant as winter approaches, since the coronavirus, like pneumonia, will be more prevalent in cold climates," Murray said.

Murray highlighted the unprecedented opportunity to save lives with rapid action.

"Looking at the staggering COVID-19 estimates, it's easy to get lost in the enormity of the numbers," Murray said. "The number of deaths exceeds the capacity of the world's 50 largest stadiums, a sobering image of the people who have lost their lives and livelihoods."

Under the most likely of IHME's scenarios, the nations with the highest per capita total deaths would be the US Virgin Islands, the Netherlands, and Spain. By WHO region, this scenario projects 959,685 total deaths by January 1 in the Region of the Americas, 667,811 in the European Region, 79,583 in the African Region, 168,711 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, 738,427 in the South-East Asia Region, and 191,598 in the Western Pacific Region.

"We all must learn from those leaders of nations where the virus has been contained, or where second waves of infections have occurred, and where swift action has been taken to prevent loss of life," Murray said.

He also cautioned against pursuing the so-called "herd immunity" strategy, which occurs when a large proportion of a community becomes immune to the virus through infection and recovery. The "worse-case" scenario in these projections reflects a situation where leaders allow transmission to run through their population, resulting in significant loss of life.

"This first global forecast represents an opportunity to underscore the problem with herd immunity, which, essentially, ignores science and ethics, and allows millions of avoidable deaths," Murray said. "It is, quite simply, reprehensible."

Here are the top 10 nations with highest per capita death forecasts with worse-case scenario, most likely scenario, and best scenario:


-- Worse case: Netherlands, Spain, US Virgin Islands, Japan, Sweden,
Romania, Israel, Republic of Moldova, United States of America,
Montenegro
-- Most likely: US Virgin Islands, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Peru, San
Marino, Sweden, United States of America, Ecuador, France
-- Best case: US Virgin Islands, Spain, Peru, San Marino, Kazakhstan,
Ecuador, Belgium, Panama, Mexico, Colombia
Top 10 nations with the highest cumulative deaths on January 1:


Worse-
case
scenario Most likely scenario Best-case scenario

---

India: India: 659,537 (range of India: 484,981 (range of
916,688 415,118-1,087,533) 316,111-819,426)
(range
of
562,203-1,431,708)

---

United United States of America: United States of America:
States 410,451 (range of 288,381 (range of
of 347,551-515,272) 257,286-327,775)
America:
620,029
(range
of
463,361-874,649)

---

Japan: Brazil: 174,297 (range of Brazil: 160,567 (range of
287,635 163,982-185,913) 152,483-169,483)
(range
of
25,669-758,716)

---

Spain: Mexico: 138,828 (range of Mexico: 130,545 (range of
180,904 125,763-156,493) 118,201-147,963)
(range
of
97,665-282,075)

---

Brazil: Japan: 120,514 (range of Japan: 104,808 (range of
177,299 10,301-492,791) 7,971-456,224)
(range
of
166,656-189,259)

---

Mexico: Russian Federation: 94,905 Spain: 66,508 (range of
157,264 (range of 57,575-170,048) 41,980-117,239)
(range
of
139,863-183,739)

---

Philippines: France: 73,743 (range of United Kingdom: 59,819 (range
117,721 44,693-161,349) of 57,572-65,411)
(range
of
27,525-176,324)

---

France: United Kingdom: 69,548 (range Philippines: 58,030 (range of
116,415 of 59,680-96,669) 7,552-137,358)
(range
of
51,021-342,047)

---

Russian Spain: 69,445 (range of France: 46,623 (range of
Federation: 43,306-122,913) 38,070-69,559)
112,367
(range
of
63,165-214,363)

---

Netherlands: Philippines: 58,412 (range of Peru: 46,528 (range of
94,332 7,660-136,079) 44,161-48,557)
(range
of
21,815-186,842)

---


Top 10 nations with the highest cumulative death rate per 100,000 on January 1:


Worse-
case
scenario Most likely scenario Best-case scenario

---

Netherlands: US Virgin Islands: 349.8 (range US Virgin Islands: 343.9 (range
549.8 of 42.4-516.3) of 39.4-514.6)
(range
of
127.1-1,089.0)

---

Spain: Netherlands: 204.5 (range of Spain: 144.5 (range of
393.1 64.1-595.7) 91.2-254.7)
(range
of
212.2-612.9)

---

US Spain: 150.9 (range of Peru: 136.9 (range of
Virgin 94.1-267.1) 129.9-142.8)
Islands:
364.7
(range
of
51.0-520.1)

---

Japan: Belgium: 139.7 (range of San Marino: 132.1 (range of
225.1 92.3-290.6) 130.9-134.2)
(range
of
20.1-593.7)

---

Sweden: Peru: 137.3 (range of Kazakhstan: 121.4 (range of
223.1 130.1-143.4) 53.4-183.5)
(range
of
83.1-894.3)

---

Romania: San Marino: 137.2 (range of Ecuador: 117.4 (range of
216.1 132.4-151.2) 109.4-128.4)
(range
of
106.9-384.4)

---

Israel: Sweden: 125.4 (range of Belgium: 106.9 (range of
195.5 71.6-394.0) 90.9-149.0)
(range
of
93.3-363.7)

---

Republic United States of America: 125.1 Panama: 104.8 (range of
of (range of 106.0-157.1) 76.9-149.3)
Moldova:
192.3
(range
of
105.4-312.8)

---

United Ecuador: 118.3 (range of Mexico: 104.5 (range of
States 109.8-129.8) 94.6-118.4)
of
America:
189.0
(range
of
141.3-266.7)

---

Montenegro: France: 111.4 (range of Colombia: 94.7 (range of
183.3 67.5-243.7) 81.5-112.1)
(range
of
17.5-389.5)

---


IHME's projections for India are based on an epidemiological model that includes data on cases, deaths, and antibody prevalence, as well as state-specific COVID-19 testing rates, mobility, social distancing mandates, mask use, population density and age structure, and pneumonia seasonality, which shows a strong correlation with the trajectory of COVID-19.

The new projections, including additional forecasts of daily infections, are available at https://covid19.healthdata.org/india [https://c212.net/c/link/?t=0&l=en&o=2908513-1&h=2089120333&u=https%3A%2F%2Fcovid19.healthdata.org%2Findia&a=https%3A%2F%2Fcovid19.healthdata.org%2Findia], and will be regularly updated moving forward.

About the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent global health research organization at the University of Washington School of Medicine that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world's most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them. IHME is committed to transparency and makes this information widely available so that policymakers have the evidence they need to make informed decisions on allocating resources to improve population health.

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CONTACT: media@healthdata.org; For Europe-based journalists: Cathy Bartley, cathy.bartley@bartley-robbs.co.uk

Web site: http://www.healthdata.org/

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