Trending: U of Washington model says Delaware could begin to ease social distancing on May 19

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A spate of coronavirus cases in Sussex County dampens rosier view

A report from  a widely followed University of Washington institute  indicates that Delaware could begin to loosen social distancing restrictions later in May, NPR reported.

Under the model, Delaware could begin to loosen restrictions on May 19. It is one of 13 states that would see earlier dates under a new model.

The  University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation based its model on seeing one new infection per million people.

Their thinking is that hospitals under this formula would be able to handle any flareups. Delaware has seen hospitalizations running well below previous worst-case projections. 

Meanwhile, several states that according to the Washington model should wait longer than Delaware are starting to loosen restrictions, the most prominent being Georgia and Florida.

University of Washington scientists caution that the data is subject to revisions and critics point to data that indicates the virus is far more widespread in the population than previously thought.

In the case of Delaware, an outbreak in cases in Sussex County remains a big concern. That area of the state does not have the hospital bed capacity of the northern tier of the state. 

Gov. John Carney  noted earlier that a previous University of Washington survey on when Delaware would see a  flattening of the curve of cases was not accurate.

A  recent  Politico story said the Trump administration relied on the University of Washington information that turned out to be overly optimistic in predicting that deaths from the virus would total 60,000. The nation is expected to hit that figure in early May.

Currently, the state is following federal guidelines that call for 14 consecutive days of declining cases.

Delaware will struggle to meet that standard, due to the sporadic nature of when the state receives coronavirus tests. Tests from outside labs can take anywhere from a few days to a week.

Carney said  “data smoothing” accounting from ups and downs due to more widespread testing could provide a more accurate picture.

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