COVID-19 forecasting models predict deadly weeks ahead for Massachusetts

BOSTON — Forecasting models predicting how current conditions will shape the future of the new coronavirus outbreak shows troubling numbers over the coming weeks in Massachusetts.

Most importantly, the forecasting models have shown increased numbers of deaths in the state compared to previous models.

Each of three forecasting programs, from The University of Washington, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, now predict a sharp rise in the number of deaths in Massachusetts by June, with two forecasting that COVID-19 will kill up to a cumulative total of 11,000 residents in the next six to seven weeks.

The most conservative estimate comes from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. It now estimates an additional 1,255 will die in Massachusetts of COVID-19 during what it calls the ‘First Wave’ of the pandemic. The Institute predicts around 5,500 total deaths in that period.

Last week, MIT’s COVID Analytics Project forecast about 7,500 likely deaths in Massachusetts by mid-June. This week, the model jumped closer to 10,500 deaths.

The most dire predictions come from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It forecasts not only 11,000 cumulative deaths but potentially 100,000 new cases of COVID-19 by June 7.

All three models show Massachusetts’ number of cases still surging, with cases only beginning to drop around mid to late May. The good news is, as Gov. Baker said, “we have flattened the curve.”

The models for active cases line up with Gov. Charlie Baker’s extended stay-at-home advisory through May 17, though relaxing restrictions will change the forecast.

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