Watch CBS News

COVID-19 Simulator Shows Potential Impact Of Reopening Too Soon In Massachusetts

BOSTON (CBS) -- What would happen if we reopened too soon? A COVID-19 Simulator was created to help predict the potentially deadly results.

"What we've done is slowed the spread but it could easily be switched around and start increasing again if we all come out too early," said Dr. Ali Raja, an emergency physician at Mass. General.

The tool, developed by Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston University, and Georgia Tech, looks at the impact of social distancing guidelines over time. It combines infectious disease modeling and statistical modeling to simulate the trajectory of COVID-19 state by state from March 15 to August 31.

Here is what it shows for Massachusetts if the current stay-at-home restrictions remain in place through August 31:

The predicted death toll in Massachusetts if current intervention stayed in place until August 31. (COVID-19 Simulator)

The simulator indicates there would be about 4,960 deaths at the end of that stretch and new infections would keep trending downward, eventually to single digits by July.

If current restrictions in Massachusetts were lifted in a month and the state moved toward what the simulator defines as minimal restrictions:

The predicted death toll in Massachusetts if current intervention stayed in place until May 25 and then "minimal restrictions" were kept in place. (COVID-19 Simulator)

It projects the number of deaths would increase exponentially to roughly 27,000 by the end of August. New infections could peak at 61,000 at the beginning of August.

Minimal restrictions would be "no intervention in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, there is an assumed level of learned social awareness (handwashing, avoid close contact when sick, etc.) that is included in the model," according to the simulator.

A complete lockdown is another option listed. The simulator can go through different restrictions for various lengths of time from two weeks to four months.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.