Brown University team predicts second spike in coronavirus cases when economy reopens

RHODE ISLAND (WLNE) – A team at Brown University has been working with the state to develop Rhode Island’s daily coronavirus curve projection model.

New data shows the hospitalization model will have a second spike in conronavirus cases when the economy begins to reopen.

“In three weeks there is not going to be herd immunity and there is not going to be a vaccine.  That means when we reopen, when anybody reopens, there is going to be an uptick in cases,” said Emily Oster. She’s a professor of economics at Brown University and part of the data modeling team.

She said the second spike won’t be as severe as the one we’re going through now. Her team is now working on figuring out when the second peak might be and how bad it could be.

“So when we do see an uptick in cases, we’re ready to react with hospitalizations and ready to react on the distancing side if we see things going out of control,” said Oster.

She said social distancing will play a key factor going forward, and if we let up on it, even for a short period of time, cases will begin to spike.

“Even a few days can matter,” said Oster.

How high the second peak will be will depend on when the governor reopens the economy and how tight her restrictions are. Governor Gina Raimondo said when she reopens the economy, businesses will operate differently than before the pandemic.

“You’re going to have to have your temperature checked before you go into work. You’re going to have to wear a mask while you’re at work,” said Raimondo. “We might see outbreaks, but we hope they’re smaller, more manageable, and we can quickly identify them and deal with them.”

The current hospitalization model projects Rhode Island coronavirus deaths to peak at the end of April or the beginning of May.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Rhode Island