IHME and WHO collaborate to measure and respond to COVID-19

Published 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.

For more on IHME’s COVID-19 work, explore our latest COVID-19 projections and check out the Insights Blog from IHME director Dr. Christopher J.L. Murray.



Scientific Publication

Assessing COVID-19 pandemic policies and behaviours and their economic and educational trade-offs across US states from Jan 1, 2020, to July 31, 2022: an observational analysis