Our COVID-19 forecasting model, otherwise known as “the Chris Murray Model”

Published April 2, 2020


View the COVID-19 projections

You may have heard during a recent White House press briefing about “the Chris Murray Model,” a new COVID-19 forecasting model created by Dr. Christopher Murray and researchers in Washington state that predicts the state-by-state impact of the coronavirus pandemic on health systems in the United States. That model is our model.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, was referring to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s model whenshe spoke with “Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd in a March 29, 2020, conversation about steps the US government is taking to support COVID-19 “hot spots” across the country:

Clip Transcript:

Dr. Deborah Birx: “There’s a new website up, it comes from Chris Murray out in Washington state. It’s on the I-M-E website, I-M-H-E’s website. It predicts and looks at this built as an infectious disease model.”

Later that Sunday afternoon, the White House coronavirus task force held a press briefing, and Dr. Birx was asked by President Donald Trump to explain the data behind the administration’s decision to extend social distancing measures until the end of April.

Dr. Birx referred to our organization as “H-I-M-E,” referenced our director, Dr. Christopher Murray, and advised reporters to check out our website. The order of letters is hardly the top priority at a time like this, but we want to clarify where our work was recently referenced, and where policymakers and hospital system professionals can find it. (You can find it right here.) It is a COVID-19 hospital planning tool that is updated daily on the IHME website. As we learn more about COVID-19 and add new data, the findings will change. We hope this work will serve as helpful “real-time” information for leaders. 

Clip Transcript:

Dr. Deborah Birx: “You’ve seen the models. You’ve seen the models from Imperial, you’ve seen the models from Columbia. We’ve reviewed 12 different models, and then we went back to the drawing board over the last week or two, and worked from the ground up utilizing actual reporting of cases. It’s the way we built the HIV model, the TB model, and the malaria model. When we finished, the other group that was working in parallel which we didn’t know about, H-I-M-E and Chris Murray, ended up at the same numbers. So if you go on his website, you can see the concern that we had with the growing number of potential fatalities.”  

The website Dr. Birx referenced is covid19.healthdata.org/projections

Our model is updated daily at 6AM Pacific Daylight Time. We will continue to update this blog, and you can sign up for email notifications here.