UMass model projects state coronavirus death tally will rise to nearly 10,000 by end of month

A University of Massachusetts model predicts the state’s coronavirus death toll could rise to nearly 10,000 by Oct. 31.

The model says the state’s tally could stand at 9,967 coronavirus deaths by that time, though researchers noted the numbers could range between 9,792 and 10,262.

The model numbers reflect both confirmed and probable cases. The state had tallied 9,530 confirmed and probable case deaths as of Monday.

The rate of deaths reported each day has declined after a terrifying climb this spring, but the heartbreaking numbers have not gone to zero. The modelers say weekly deaths could range from 70 to 190 in the next four weeks.

Last week’s model had projected a slight decline in confirmed and probable coronavirus cases in coming weeks. This week’s model, however, notes a sharp increase in cases in the week ending Saturday, and it predicts the case numbers will generally stabilize at that new, higher level in the weeks ahead.

Massachusetts, with a lot of sacrifice, beat back the virus earlier this year — but there are signs that the virus is now creeping back again.

The projection comes from a lab headed by UMass Amherst associate professor Nicholas Reich that collects various models and develops a combined forecast that is intended to reflect their collective wisdom.

The lab only creates the forecast for a four-week window ahead because researchers believe forecasts aren’t reliable enough after that.

Reich’s lab posts its national- and state-level data every week at the Reich Lab COVID-19 Forecast Hub. The lab, already an Influenza Forecasting Center of Excellence, collaborates with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus predictions. The lab feeds the data it has collected and its ensemble forecast to the agency, which posts the data on its own website.

Researchers from Google who have collaborated with Harvard on a model that looks only two weeks ahead, are predicting the state death toll will rise to 9,803 by Oct. 17. The UMass model predicts around 9,736 deaths by the same date.

The Google researchers also foresee a higher number of cases continuing in the next two weeks.

The UMass model also predicts that the total number of deaths in the United States from coronavirus will reach 228,531 by Oct. 31.

Looking further into the future, the closely followed model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation sees much more heartbreak. It has projected that the nation could tally more than 363,000 coronavirus deaths by the end of the year.

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