Tennessee COVID Deaths Surpassed Predictions, Which Now Say Fatalities Will Double Again By April

Jan 4, 2021

Workers evacuate residents from the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing after more than 100 patients tested positive for coronavirus. Nursing homes have been some of the most deadly settings, since elderly people are at such greater risk.
Credit Blake Farmer | WPLN

Tennessee ended 2020 with more COVID deaths than some of the worst early predictions. And those same models now show fatalities in the state could double by April 1.

The state ended the year reporting nearly 7,000 confirmed and probable fatalities from COVID-19. That number will increase since there’s usually at least a two-week lag for reporting COVID deaths.

More than a third of the deaths were reported in the month of December, meaning the pandemic is still accelerating. Roughly 2,400 deaths were reported last month, making it the most deadly month of the pandemic — by far.

Deaths from COVID have doubled since the first of November. And given the record number of hospitalizations, physicians expect January could be even worse.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington has been updating its modeling since early in the pandemic. In late April, it was predicting 1,500 deaths in Tennessee and up to 50 deaths per day. By late September, the model was showing 6,000 deaths for 2020.

But the model has become more accurate over time as physicians learn more about how the disease progresses. The IHME prediction is now that Tennessee hits 14,000 COVID deaths by April before fatalities begin leveling off.