JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There were 85 coronavirus-related deaths reported in Florida as of Tuesday evening, but a model designed by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts the death toll in the state will rise to 5,568 by August 4.
As of Tuesday night, the model, conducted under the direction of professor Chris Murray, also predicts that Florida’s deaths won’t peak until May 3.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator, backed the university’s findings at a news conference Sunday, saying the results mirror the Coronavirus Task Force’s data.
And at the same time, she urged rural areas to brace themselves, as well.
“If the metros and the rural areas don’t take care now, by the time you see it, it has penetrated your community pretty significantly,” Birx said.
The study predicts 83,967 COVID-19 deaths nationwide and a big shortage of hospital beds in cities with the most cases.
Murray is projecting the peak of the strain to the U.S. health care system to occur on April 15, and the number of COVID-19 deaths is projected to increase every day.
Florida is not expected to face a shortage in the overall number of hospital beds, but the state is expected to be short 297 intensive care unit beds, according to the model.