In August, in partnership with the Harvard Global Health Institute, Google launched a set of models — the COVID-19 Public Forecasts — that provide projections of COVID-19 cases, deaths, ICU utilization, ventilator availability, and other metrics for U.S. counties and states. Today, the two organizations released what they claim are significantly improved models — trained on public data from Johns Hopkins University, Descartes Labs, the United States Census Bureau, and elsewhere — that expand beyond the U.S.
The COVID-19 Public Forecasts are intended to serve as a resource for first responders in health care, the public sector, and other affected organizations, Google says. The forecasts allow for targeted testing and public health interventions on a county-by-county basis, in theory enhancing users’ ability to respond to the rapidly evolving pandemic. For example, health care providers could incorporate the forecasted number of cases as a datapoint in resource planning for PPE, staffing, and scheduling. Meanwhile, state and county health departments could use the forecast of infections to inform testing strategies and identify areas at risk of an outbreak.
American debt to exceed GDP in 2021
The United States is projected to hold about $21 trillion in debt in 2021, and that number is expected to increase to $32 trillion by 2030. A $1.9 trillion stimulus bill represents a fraction of that increase, although White House officials have also discussed trying to approve a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure package later this year. The CBO projections also assume the expiration of numerous provisions of the 2017 GOP tax law aimed at the lower and middle class by the middle of this decade.
Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which pushes for deficit reduction, said lawmakers face a long-term challenge in getting spending and deficit levels to balance. That is not something that hinges on the precise size of Biden’s stimulus package, Goldwein said.
“Even without the $1.9 trillion [stimulus], we will be at record-high debt levels” in a few years, he said. “Realistically, it’s going to come much sooner than that.”
Source: Washington Post