UCF projections show new COVID-19 infections could soon begin to decrease

Models don't account for school's reopening

ORLANDO, Fla. – Models developed by researchers at the University of Central Florida show that new COVID-19 cases could begin to slow down locally by August but all in all, Orange County is predicted to experience a maximum infection rate of 65,000.

According to a news release, the projections use the latest artificial intelligence and deep-learning models and were developed by Shunpu Zhang, professor and chair of the Department of Statistics and Data Science, associate professor of computer science Liqian Wang and graduate student Dongdong Wang.

While the models use data from Johns Hopkins University and The New York Times, they do not account for schools reopening in August, tourists visiting Central Florida now that theme parks are reopened and the NBA relocating to the region to restart its season.

Projections developed by UCF researchers predict that Orange County could see a maximum COVID-19 infection rate of 65,000. (UCF)

Click here to see a full-size version of the graphs.

“The current predictions are based on the data to date, and the future may change,” Zhang said.

Key points from the analysis, provided directly from UCF’s website, are:

  • The daily increase of COVID-19 positive cases will begin to slow around early August for Florida and the U.S., and the end of July for Orange County.
  • The maximum infection rate is expected to be approximately 12 million for the U.S., 1.5 million for Florida and 65,000 for Orange County.
  • The number of ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients will peak in early August for the U.S. and Florida and in the end of July in Orange County.
  • There is a strong correlation between Florida and the U.S., indicating the state plays a prominent role in informing national policy. Similarly, Orange County mirrors Florida’s numbers.
  • The researchers also explored a hypothetical situation that extended Florida’s shutdown, instead of opening up into phase two in early June. Charts show a dramatic rise in positive cases almost immediately after reopening began and the numbers tell the same story. The projected ultimate total infection rate tripled in the U.S. from 4 million to 12 million; expanded 15 times in Florida, from 100,000 to 1.5 million; and jumped 32.5 times in Orange County, from 2,000 to 65,000.

The charts show Orange County’s daily case rate approaching the relatively low numbers seen in April and May by about December.

As of now, Florida has reported a cumulative total of 451,423 coronavirus cases. In Orange County, that number is 28,191 with 371 new cases being reported on Wednesday alone.

To see the models and read more about them, click here.

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