Delaware Public Media

CHOP PolicyLab predicts COVID-19 resurgence in the region

Jul 30, 2020

A public health research center in Philadelphia is predicting a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the region.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) PolicyLab has been making county level weekly COVID-19 forecasts since early on in the pandemic. It uses factors like the rate of cases, poverty rates and population density and age. 

Its latest forecast predicts a resurgence of the virus among Northeast states including Delaware. 

PolicyLab Director Dr. David Rubin says the rate of transmission is growing heading up the I-95 corridor from the outbreak in Florida, and could reach as high as Massachusetts.

“We continue to see in Delaware, for example, a lot of risk, because you have Maryland which is having very significant outbreaks,” said Rubin. “We’re now seeing outbreaks in the Jersey Shore for certain and now the entire Philadelphia region has now been included in what we call this regional epicenter that is now starting to form.”    

The PolicyLab forecast says Philadelphia has the potential for as many as 200 cases per day by mid-August.

Rubin says Delaware is more poised for a resurgence of the virus now than it was a month ago—especially with schools potentially reopening.

“There’s been lots of time spent with elevated transmission rates,” he said. “And clearly if I compared Kent County to where it was in mid-June, you’re in worse position today and it’s not just the local outbreak, there’s some widespread transmission.”    

Gov. Carney said earlier this week Delaware has not yet noted an increased risk associated with out-of-state travel, adding the state is not considering travel advisories at the moment, though it remains an option.

“We would certainly consider it, as we did in the Spring, if there was an identified risk associated with travel from either states in the region or outside of our state,” said Carney. “We do not have an airport with a lot of that travel coming in and out. We do obviously have the northeast corridor and Amtrak. Currently, we have not seen in any of our data or any of our information from interviews with contact tracers about risk associated with that travel.”

Though Rubin notes the increased risk of spread with schools reopening, he adds he feels there is the potential for success with a hybrid of online and in-person learning for when schools reopen in the fall.