Coronavirus model cited by White House looks to consider how many Americans wear masks

Article Image

A coronavirus model that has been cited by the White House is looking to incorporate data on whether Americans wear masks, according to the Institute for Hea...

Posted: May 21, 2020 7:20 AM

A coronavirus model that has been cited by the White House is looking to incorporate data on whether Americans wear masks, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

The change would be one of many in recent weeks for the institute's model, which has been criticized before for its assumptions and performance.

As states have begun reopening, IHME has upped its forecast for the number of coronavirus deaths in the US, based in part on cell phone mobility data that showed people moving around more.

But the institute revised its projections down slightly this week, saying an expected increase in infections has not yet occurred.

Mask data would come from an app, which has limitations

Dr. Christopher Murray, the IHME director, told CNN Monday that there hasn't been a strong correlation between movement and cases or deaths. He said masks may be the reason why, and on Wednesday, IHME outlined its plan for collecting data on how many people are covering their face.

The institute said it's using information from Premise, which it described as a "crowd-sourcing data collection company." Contributors to the Premise app are asked whether they wear masks when they leave home, IHME said, but that data has limitations. It's self-reported, for example, and may not be representative of people who don't use the app.

Still, IHME pointed to differences in mask use between states. Last week, for example, at least 80% of survey respondents in more than a dozen states said they sometimes or always wore a mask outside the home, including in New York and Florida.

But less than 60% of respondents in four other states -- including Wisconsin and South Carolina -- reported the same, according to IHME.

While the institute doesn't include mask data in its projections yet, it said "our team is currently exploring how such data and corresponding estimates can be incorporated into our modeling approach, as well as expanding the data sources and locations included for measuring mask use."

A growing list of changes to the model amid criticism

The White House cited the IHME model often in April, and it's one of more than a dozen currently highlighted on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

The model is slick and easy-to-use -- and just unveiled a new tool to let users compare projections between states -- but experts have criticized it before, and the model has changed often in the past few weeks.

For example, IHME used to predict that deaths in the US would stop this summer, even without continued social distancing. In mid-April, Murray said his model assumed that other containment measures -- such as contact tracing -- would reduce the risk of resurgence to "essentially zero."

But epidemiologists at the time were skeptical and said that assumption was unrealistic. IHME now predicts tens of thousands of deaths after June 1.

The model also assumed that deaths in states would rise and fall at about the same rate -- essentially fitting a curve -- but that didn't happened. IHME has since revised its methodology to forecast a longer, more drawn-out epidemic in the US.

Huntsville
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 75°
Florence
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 76°
Fayetteville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
Decatur
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
Scottsboro
Scattered Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
DeKalb2603
Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
Bullock2197
Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
Talladega1215
Pickens1215
Limestone1100
Chilton1081
Greene955
Macon944
Winston920
Jackson863
Henry842
Covington831
Crenshaw803
Escambia793
Bibb761
Washington746
Blount641
Lawrence510
Monroe492
Geneva450
Perry430
Conecuh421
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 25664

Reported Deaths: 408
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby5669127
Davidson563869
Rutherford139829
Trousdale13944
Hamilton99219
Sumner95146
Lake8350
Bledsoe6131
Williamson59511
Robertson5425
Putnam5256
Tipton4673
Wilson4598
Knox4455
Out of TN4264
Bedford3024
Montgomery2873
Rhea2170
Hardeman2040
Bradley1742
Madison1732
Macon1713
Loudon1650
Unassigned1610
McMinn14614
Fayette1442
Cheatham1400
Dickson1210
Cumberland1202
Maury1081
Sevier1002
Blount933
Coffee810
Washington760
Monroe743
Wayne640
Gibson631
Sullivan602
Lauderdale601
Dyer590
Hickman590
Franklin541
Greene522
Unicoi490
Obion481
Hamblen442
Marion441
Anderson422
DeKalb390
Smith361
Lawrence350
Marshall341
White340
Hawkins342
Haywood342
Overton330
Grundy321
Cannon320
Henry320
Lincoln300
Jefferson290
Carroll281
Meigs270
Warren270
Weakley260
Perry240
Hardin222
Cocke210
Sequatchie200
Polk190
Carter191
Jackson190
Johnson190
Campbell181
Morgan180
Roane170
Humphreys161
Crockett163
Grainger150
Henderson150
McNairy150
Giles140
Stewart140
Scott130
Chester120
Fentress120
Claiborne120
Houston80
Clay80
Benton71
Decatur50
Moore50
Van Buren40
Union40
Lewis30
Pickett30
Hancock10

 

 

Community Events