MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It wasn’t the only thing, but one of the factors in Gov. Tim Walz’s decision to extend the stay-at-home order was what the state’s health models are predicting.
“It has its place. It’s not magic, it’s just one of the tools,” Stefan Gildemeister said.
The model predicts the number of daily cases, how many people are in ICUs, and how many Minnesotans die. These projections come from known data being plugged into the model. The good news is that every passing day brings more of that data.
“As more evidence emerges, our inputs will become better. We will learn more about the disease, and more importantly, we will learn more about the disease in Minnesota,” Stefan Gildemeister said.
The latest version of Minnesota’s model projects 9,000 to 30,000 deaths, with the peak coming somewhere in the next 13 to 21 weeks. That’s with close to the current stay-at-home order.
Compare that to what the model shows with no social distancing, up to 68,000 deaths, and a peak that could come in 5 weeks, potentially overwhelming hospitals.
“There is a lot of work going on between the healthcare industry and the administration to bring the number of ICU beds up,” Stefan Gildemeister said.
The important grain of salt with all of this. Models always have uncertainty. It’s like forecasting the weather, focus on the fact that snow is coming, not the exact number of inches.
“They are designed to give you an idea of trends, and a range of solutions,” WCCO’s Mike Augustyniak explained.
Leaders will continue to look to the models as a guide, and they say we can expect more refinement and enhancing of the formula in the coming weeks.