When is this “COVID thing” going to end?
This question has become more and more common, from Frio residents to elected officials. The short answer: no one knows. Wear the mask and practice physical distancing so we can end this sooner.
The long answer: the Institute for Health and Metrics Evaluation (IHME) has released a COVID-19 projection tool for each state in the US. The interface allows you to view different scenarios, such as “universal masks” and “mandates easing” since these variables have a huge impact on infection, hospitalization, and death curves.
A few things to keep in mind when using the tool:
1. IHME has been on the low side of projections before, mostly due to the unpredictability of government policy, guidelines, and resulting human behavior. IHME was the organization cited by White House officials (https://youtu.be/eTX3xoLdDlw?t=130 and https://youtu.be/nOEIw2UaLdc?t=82) when they revised their COVID-19 death projection down to 60,000 in the US by October. As of today, June 26, the United States stands at around 126, 823 deaths, double the older projection with three months to go until October.
2. The chart shows averages for Texas, but Frio County is a unique case. Our current infections are about double of the State “per 100,000” number, which landed us on the NY Times hot spot list. As of today, June 26, Frio County has gained 10 spots, moving up to 56th in US from 66th on June 23. The averages are only a guide for Frio County, not the rule.
Based on these two factors, Frio County could be far above future projections without major changes in individual choices and local government support.