The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent global health research center at the University of Washington, made predictions about the future of the pandemic, including that April would be a turning point for COVID-19 vaccines. That said, predicting future cases and deaths has been made even more difficult due to mutating variants of the virus, including the more contagious and dangerous UK B.1.1.7 variant taking hold.
Right now, the organization’s projections for summer are more optimistic than many federal health officials. For Washington state, the IMHE predicts a gentle rise in the month ahead, then the number of deaths falling below one a day by July 21. However, Dr. Ali Mokdad, the lead researcher behind the IHME predictions and professor of Health Metrics said “I’m worried about behaviors and escaped variants and I would see cases declining all the way to the end of the summer. I’m concerned about winter. Winter, we’re going to see a rise in cases, simply because this virus is seasonal and we will have not reached herd immunity before winter”.
Dr. Mokdad also worries that people who have been previously infected will no longer help add to the herd protection numbers as their antibodies wear off and are much less able to provide protection depending on the evolving nature of the variants. As always, stay on top of the latest information regarding COVID-19 and the variants, it could make a difference on your health! Stay well, mask up and stay tuned!