As Models Indicate Increasing Cases; State Leaders Stay the Course

CHARLOTTE, NC – One of the leading coronavirus model predictors is now indicating a significant increase in the number of positive cases in the coming weeks. This as North Carolina leaders say they’re confident in moving forward with reopen plans considering the data they have. 

The Washington State model predicts 7500 positive COVID-19 cases a day by the end of the month.  A sharp increase by several thousand from just days ago. 

“None of them are actually accurate,” said Gibbie Harris, the Mecklenburg County public health director, “they’re only as good as the data that we have available to us.”

Harris says any model is a tool that must be considered among many other metrics. 

“We work closely with data scientists both at Atrium and Novant. They each have their own models. We compare models. We look at the data together and what we are seeing is consistent across our system and they’re two systems,” said Harris. 

Harris compared the model forecasting to hurricane prediction spaghetti graphs.

“That’s what projections do. And those models change as information gets fed into them,” explained Harris. 

As North Carolina moves towards phase two of the reopen plan, state health director Dr. Mandy Cohen says they’re no longer relying on the Washington State Model for guidance. 

“What is hard for them in their model I believe is understanding as we ease back, what does that really do in terms of changing. They have a bit more of an on-off switch for things that would impact viral spread,” explained Cohen.

She says their model was based on Wuhan, China. And lacked the nuance of North Carolina’s phased opening approach. 

“That is a very densely populated urban area. So translating that to North Carolina is hard,” said Cohen. 

Even as restrictions loosen, one thing remains constant. Health experts advocate for people to wear face coverings in public, wash their hands regularly, and wait six feet apart from one another.