RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia health authorities reported more than 400 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, largely consistent with a leveling off that has occurred over the last week.
The Virginia Department of Health also reported an increase in the death toll from 149 to 154.
The total number of cases in Virginia since the coronavirus arrived in the state now stands at nearly 6,200. The daily increase reported Tuesday of about 425 new cases is largely in line with what Virginia has seen over the last week.
On Monday, researchers with the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute said initial data suggest that social distancing and other mitigation efforts have largely stalled the growth rate in new cases. Modeling prepared by the institute suggests the growth rate could continue to grow at a minimal rate if Gov. Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home order stays in effect through its current June 10 deadline.
But the same model shows that lifting those restrictions in mid-June will still result in a significant spike in case in the summer, peaking in August.
Other models show the outbreak will essentially end in June if social distancing measures remain in place through May.
The University of Virginia model is built on several assumptions researchers said represent a best guess based on available data. For instance, the model assumes that 50% of the people who contract the virus will never actually get sick. It also assumes that confirmed cases reported by public-health authorities represent only 15% of the true number of cases because of limits in testing and other gaps in data collection.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.