Virginia’s peak coronavirus prediction shifts to late-April

Coronavirus
(Photo: Courtesy MGN Image)

(Photo: Courtesy MGN Image)

(WRIC) — Originally anticipated to be late May/early June, Virginia’s peak for coronavirus cases continues to change. Now, the Director of the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts Dr. Danny Avula tells us it’s predicted to be around April 20.

“That really was based on a little bit of a dip on the death rate that New York was seeing,” Dr. Avula said.

With New York reporting that more than 730 people have died from COVID-19 since Monday, things could change.  Dr. Avula also says it’s still too early to tell.

“Deaths aren’t the only indicator that’s playing into the predictions, right. Because the rate of hospitalizations in New York continues to slow,” Dr. Avula said. “So I think we’ll have to watch this play out in New York for a couple more days to see if that hospitalization rate continues to hit a downward trend.”

The projections are based on multiple models throughout the country, so it’s still tough to tell what Virginia’s peak will be. This is why all health systems in the state have given their information to a data shop at the University of Virginia. 

There, Dr. Avula says the lab is aggregating all that information and developing a more concrete model for the commonwealth.

“But once we hit the peak, whenever it may be, what’s next?” 8News asked. “How much longer could we expect for this to last?”

Dr. Avula says since we’ve already been dealing with the coronavirus in Virginia for around a month and a half, “We would expect that the other side of this curve will be at least that long, if not longer.”

He believes these numbers are relevant for where we are now with COVID-19, but a bigger concern is after this initial curve of illness.

“As we head into the fall and next winter, we may see a second round of illness,” Dr. Avula said.

He adds that the absence of a vaccine is troublesome, telling 8News there might not be one for another 12-18 months.

Dr. Avula also mentioned China is going to be a place to watch and see if they get another peak or not since they have somewhat opened back up fully.

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