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Experts discuss what COVID-19 numbers could look like through rest of 2020

Florida surpasses 1 million infections

ORLANDO, Fla. – On Tuesday, Florida crossed 1 million coronavirus infections since the pandemic began in March.

News 6 spoke with statistical experts at the University of Central Florida and researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania Policy Lab to help learn what COVID-19 numbers could look like for the rest of the year.

Back in July, models developed by researchers at the University of Central Florida showed that new COVID-19 cases could begin to slow down locally by August.

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According to a news release, the projections used 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 Liqiang Wang and graduate student Dongdong Wang.

Key points from the analysis, provided directly from UCF’s website, included a steady decline for the remainder of 2020 and maximum infection rate of approximately 12 million for the U.S., 1.5 million for Florida and 65,000 for Orange County.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Orange County had recorded 57,862 positive cases, Florida had recorded 1,008,166 positive cases, and the United States had exceeded its projections, with more than 13.6 million confirmed cases.

“Our previous model worked pretty well until mid-October,” Zhang said. “The speed of going up was much faster than before. From now to mid-January, it’s going to still go up.”

According to Liqiang Wang, there are many factors that affect their model, as well as CDC models.

“The weather and social activity which is quite different from the spring and the summer,” Liqiang Wang said.

Their projections look a little better for Florida and Orange County, which still stand below their worst-case scenarios but are closing in even as hospitals and local teams prepare for vaccine distributions.

“We really want to do self-protection and stay at home as much as we can,” Dongdong Wang said. “That helps us understand this system better and we can make predictions more accurately.”

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia releases weekly COVID projections for across the country, which can be viewed here.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia releases weekly COVID-19 projections for Orange County, Fla.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia releases weekly COVID-19 projections for Orange County, Fla. (WKMG)

Their projections show over the course of the next four weeks, cases should continue to rise in Flagler, Lake, Marion and Seminole counties if social distancing measures do not change and slowly decline in Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Sumter and Volusia counties.


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