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Forecast model predicts 500-plus Oregon deaths from COVID-19

EUGENE, Ore. -- A forecast model from the University of Washington predicts that the daily death toll from COVID-19 will peak on April 30.

According to the numbers, 11 people will die every day between April 30 to May 14.

The total deaths through Aug. 4 will be 566 in Oregon, the researchers estimate.

The numbers are roughly halfway between the best-case and worst-case scenarios. On May 10, for example, the forecast possibility ranges from 1 to 24 deaths.

Total deaths in Oregon could range from 150 to 1,062, according to the projections.

The study was done by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle. Health officials at the White House mentioned the model in their daily press briefing on Monday.

Jason Davis, a spokesperson for Lane County Public Health, said they are not using that model to forecast COVID-19, but four different ones. He said the models they are using are all done in the state, including one that looks at Oregon outside of Portland. He said they look at the models and then compare them to what data they have locally.

Based on the models, we could see the peak of the number of cases and deaths start in early May and last until June.

Davis said viruses, even well-known ones, are hard to predict. He said with so little data on COVID-19, it's even harder. Based on their models, Davis said there could be around 2,500 cases outside of Portland.

"This certainly could change and is completely and is utterly dependent on our ability to maintain our social distancing and staying at home," Davis said.

Davis said they don't have any models yet that can accurately predict what just Lane County could see. He said if all the social distancing guidelines were lifted, and we all went back to business as usual, Oregon could see 11,000 cases a day.