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Coronavirus Models Predict Scenarios, But People Determine Outcomes

We’ve all heard the grim predictions. The University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics estimates that nearly 379,000 Americans could die of COVID-19 by the end of the year — that would be about 170,000 deaths in the next four months, a scenario based on people continuing to behave as they are now.

With more lax precautions, that number could increase by about 70,000. But there are dozens of other models as well. One based at the University of Texas in Austin uses cellphone data. Another at the University of Massachusetts Amherst aggregates data from several sources known as an ensemble model.

Host Robin Young talks to professor Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the COVID-19 Modeling Consortium at UT Austin, and UMass Amherst professor Nicholas Reich, whose lab focuses on modeling for infectious diseases.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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