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The COVID-19 Map May Soon Look Much Uglier: Oliver Wyman

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If you live in Jacksonville, Florida, or Nashville, Tennessee, you may want to be extra careful about social distancing.

Analysts at Oliver Wyman, a major consulting firm, are predicting that COVID-19 infection rates will soar to sky-high levels in those two cities in less than three weeks.

The percentage of people in Jacksonville who have the virus that causes COVID-19 could jump to 1.3% around Aug. 10, from 0.8% today.

The percentage of people in Nashville who have the virus could climb to 1.7%, from 0.7% today.

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The analysts have included those predictions in a health risk dashboard chart.

The analysts based the health risk assessments on more than 15 different indicators, including the number of cases a city has today, and the percentage of people getting COVID-19 tests who actually turn out to test positive for the virus that causes the disease.

When possible, the analysts used data for the period ending July 19, or else the freshest alternative data available.

As of July 19, the highest COVID-19 infection rate on the dashboard was Jacksonville’s infection rate.

The Oliver Wyman analysts are predicting that active infection rates will increase in each of the 10 cities in their dashboard, and to 0.44%, from 0.27% today, for the United States as a whole.

They also predict that infection rates will grow faster in some cities than in Nashville and Jacksonville, but that actual infection rates in those cities will be lower.

In Philadelphia, for example, the number of infected people may 2.4 times higher around Aug. 10, but the infection rate in August may still be only about 0.24%.

The Oliver Wyman analysts say infection rates are spiking more in some cities than in others partly because some states and cities have rushed the reopening process.

“Moving rapidly from one reopening phase to the next, without being sure the geographic doesn’t experience a subsequent and significant uptick in cases with each stage of reopening, allowed active infections to continue to circulate in the community,” the analysts say.

The analysts say another factor is consumers’ attitudes toward wearing masks.

“Mask wearing has become a political statement, and many individuals have considered not wearing a mask as a matter of personal freedom, rather than of public health and safety,” the analysts say.

— Read COVID-19 Might Have Caused $2 Billion in U.S. Life Claims So Faron ThinkAdvisor.

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