IHME and WHO collaborate to measure and respond to COVID-19
January 19, 2022
IHME modelers continue to track the COVID-19 pandemic by estimating the effects of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, which is creating an exponential increase in cases around the world. The model’s projections are significant and far-reaching, with governments and institutions around the world using the IHME-provided resource. We highlight two of the six World Health Organization’s (WHO) regions that are utilizing IHME projections to shift their responses to COVID-19.
The WHO Regional Director for Europe (EURO), Dr. Hans Kluge, remarked last week that the variant is spreading from west to east, moving from western Europe into the Balkan countries. He referenced IHME forecasts in his statements, saying that over half of the population in the region’s 53 member states will be infected with the Omicron variant in the next six to eight weeks.
Dr. Kluge’s citation of IHME estimates is just the latest instance demonstrating the close partnership between WHO EURO and IHME. In October 2020, IHME presented COVID-19 projections ahead of the winter season to the region’s Ministers of Health, providing a blueprint for the EURO region’s foremost health leaders to make informed and strategic decisions.
In the Region of the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) adopted IHME’s COVID-19 forecasts as their own in April 2020. The two organizations are working together to provide accurate estimates as part of the new PAHO-IHME five-year memorandum of understanding. PAHO has utilized the projections to recommend the best strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to the health authorities of its 35 member states. One such example was the implementation of social distancing mandates prior to the Omicron variant. While imposing new mandates is unlikely to have a significant impact in this wave, IHME’s COVID-19 policy briefings suggest that social distancing—along with high-quality mask use and vaccination—remain worthwhile strategies for vulnerable individuals to protect themselves.
Emma Castro, Joseph Dieleman, Christopher J.L. Murray, Aleksandr Aravkin, Kayleigh Bhangdia, Jeremy Dalos, Erin Frame, Amy Lastuka, Theresa McHugh, Sam Ostroff, Peng Zheng, Joanne Amlag, Ryan Barber, Austin Carter, Rebecca Cogen, James Collins, Xiaochen Dai, William Dangel, Amanda Deen, Tatiana Fedosseeva, Abraham Flaxman, Nancy Fullman, John Giles, Gaorui Guo, Simon Hay, Jiawei He, Bethany Huntley, Vincent Iannucci, Kasey Kinzel, Kate LeGrand, Ali Mokdad, Hasan Nassereldine, Yaz Ozten, Maja Pašović, David Pigott, Bobby Reiner, Austin Schumacher, Elizabeth Serieux, Chris Troeger, Anh Vo, Theo Vos