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Mass. reports 192 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 18 new deaths

A mobile COVID-19 testing unit in Lawrence.
A mobile COVID-19 testing unit in Lawrence.Elise Amendola/Associated Press

The state reported Wednesday that the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Massachusetts among confirmed cases climbed by 18 to 8,249. The number of confirmed cases climbed by 192, bringing the total to 107,413, as key metrics the state is using to monitor the reopening remained generally steady.

The state also reported zero new probable-case deaths, with that total remaining at 219, and an additional 95 probable cases for a total of 6,907.

The state said 10,786 new individuals had been tested for the coronavirus, bringing the total tested to 1,063,155. The total number of tests administered climbed to 1,369,551. And the state reported that new antibody tests had been completed for 340 people, bringing that total to 87,346.

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The four key metrics the state is monitoring as businesses reopen all ticked upward.

The seven-day weighted average of positive coronavirus tests rose to 1.8 percent as of Tuesday, up from 1.7 percent the day before but still a 94 percent drop from mid-April. That figure has hovered at or below 2 percent since mid-June.

The three-day average of hospitalized coronavirus patients rose to 509 as of Tuesday, up from 498 the day before. That’s an 86 percent drop from mid-April highs.

The number of hospitals using surge capacity increased again, rising to six as of Tuesday, up from four the day before. The number was still a 71 percent decrease from mid-April.

Finally, the three-day average of deaths from confirmed coronavirus cases increased to 12 as of Sunday, up from 11 the day before. That number was still a 92 percent decrease from mid-April.

The latest numbers were announced as a University of Massachusetts model suggested coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts will continue to decline in the weeks ahead, but warned the pandemic is far from over, with the death toll headed toward 8,800 by Aug. 15.

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The model estimates that by that day, the state will tally 8,783 deaths, though researchers noted that the tally could range from 8,656 to 9,019.

The estimate comes from a lab headed by UMass Amherst associate professor Nicholas Reich that collects various coronavirus pandemic models and develops a combined, or ensemble, forecast that is intended to reflect their collective wisdom.

Reich’s lab releases the ensemble forecast weekly. It only creates the forecast for a four-week window ahead because it believes forecasts aren’t reliable enough after that.

The forecast released this week for Aug. 15 was up only slightly from last week’s forecast for Aug. 8, which was 8,774.

“Taken together, the models are expecting a continued slow decline in COVID-19 deaths in Massachusetts, with around 80 deaths expected in the week ending August 15, 2020, compared with 109 last week,” Reich said Wednesday in an e-mail.

“However,” he noted, “the models are also not ruling out an increase in COVID-19 deaths, with a 10% chance of seeing over 180 deaths per week by mid-August.”

Reich’s lab posts its national- and state-level data at the Reich Lab COVID-19 Forecast Hub. The lab, already an Influenza Forecasting Center of Excellence, collaborates with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus predictions.

The closely watched University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model, looking further into the future, predicts that Massachusetts will see 9,970 coronavirus deaths by Nov. 1.

The latest UMass ensemble model also predicts the United States as a whole will reach a total of about 164,000 deaths in four weeks, with a 10 percent chance of seeing fewer than 160,000 and a 10 percent chance of seeing more than 170,000.

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The current US death toll was more than 142,000 as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The forecast comes as cases and deaths are rising nationally, particularly in the South and West. On Tuesday, the United States recorded more than 1,000 new deaths, the first time the country has topped that mark in nearly 50 days. Also Tuesday, President Trump said the pandemic “will probably get worse before it gets better.”

“Models aren’t always sure what to make of the recent case surge and how it will translate into deaths,” Reich said on Twitter. “On the whole, they appear reasonably confident that #COVID19 deaths will continue to rise in Florida and Texas. The models are less confident seeing continued increases in weekly #COVID19 deaths in Arizona and California, two other case ‘hot-spots.‘ ”

Reich added that “in all of these locations, continued large increases in deaths over the next 4 weeks are seen as distinct possibilities.”

The University of Washington model is now predicting more than 219,000 deaths nationwide by Nov. 1. In a CNBC interview, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, “In the United States, probably, by the end of the year we could have upwards of 300,000, if we continue on the current trajectory.”

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Material from Globe wire services was used in this report.




Martin finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com. Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.