COVID-19 deaths in PA more than triple what CDC expected a month ago


ABC27 News — The “fall resurgence” of COVID-19 was widely expected. The extent of it, as measured by CDC forecasts as recent as a month ago—after the “surge,” as it’s also known, began—was not. An ABC27 analysis found the CDC, in early November — looking ahead then toward early December — underestimated the now-known actual death counts by two-thirds, in terms of what the CDC considered a likely scenario.

Why were the forecasts off by so much? Possibly because the biggest variable of all isn’t molecular.

“In essence, models that do this kind of prediction, you have to predict human behavior, which is hard,” said Dr. Mark Roberts, a professor of health policy and management at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health and also director of the university’s Public Health Dynamics Laboratory.

And human behavior, Roberts said, has been unhelpful.

“The cases and the spread is because we’re, you know, ‘COVID-tired.’ We’re not social distancing. We’re losing the intensity with which we’re supposed to socially distance,” Roberts said.

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