IHME model projects Virginia could ease social distancing guidelines after June 5


Workers construct a second tent on the House side of the Virginia capitol Monday April 20, 2020, in Richmond, Va. The House and Senate are meeting in separate locations for Wednesday’s reconvene session due to the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts that Virginia could possibly ease social distancing guidelines after June 5, five days before Gov. Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home order is set to expire.

According to IHME, the state would need to implement containment strategies that include: testing, contact tracing, isolation and still limiting gathering size. The timeframe predicted is determined by IHME’s estimate on when virus infections drop below “1 per 1 million people in a given location” and the public health funding available to the state for the containment strategies.

“After June 5, 2020, relaxing social distancing may be possible with containment strategies that include testing, contact tracing, isolation, and limiting gathering size,” IHME said on its interactive COVID-19 projections website.

The IHME model, one of many online, has been criticized for predicting different outcomes over time. In a virtual news briefing last week, IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray said, “If I were a governor of a state, I would certainly not make a decision based just on our model.”

This story is developing. Stay with 8News for updates.

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