In this video Funeral Homes in Mexico Reveal Coronavirus’ Hidden Death Toll | Coronavirus News says that government is underestimating the death toll.

In this part says that health analyst from the university of Washington project the epidemic could kill as many as 45,000 by the end of summer.

This is like 500 daily deaths on June, July and August.

Is this a reasonable prediction?

  • 1
    The population of Mexico is 126 million. If half of those get COVID and it has a 1% fatality rate, that would be 630,000 deaths. How rapidly that may play out is hard to guess. Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 20:24
  • Note: Regarding the mark YouTube video, while that's a common practice on certain places, that's certainly not common on other places. So don't generalize, not all mexican people think like that guy. Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


The reference given is a bit vague.

There is an organisation at the University of Washington called the IHME

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent population health research center at UW Medicine, part of the University of Washington, that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world's most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them.

Given they are health analysts from the University of Washington and they model the COVID-19 pandemic and produce projections, I am making the jump that this is to whom the New York Times video is referring.

Their current predictions for COVID-19 deaths in Mexico by August 4 are far more optimistic than 45,000.

Chart modelling deaths in Mexico

The project 6859 deaths, with a 95% uncertainty interval ranging from 3,578 - 16,795. It predicts until August 4, not the end of (Northern Hemisphere) Summer.

This projection was made in May 29, 2020. (The video was published June 5, 2020.)

This answer does NOT attempt to show that:

  • There wasn't another health analyst at UW that made the bigger prediction.
  • That the model that the UW prediction is based on is "good", or that it is more accurate than a model that predicts the 45,000 estimate. [Update! See below]

It is intended to suggest that the New York Times reported prediction isn't in line with IHME modelling.

That said, the IHME projection seems to far too optimistic when compared with later data:

The ncov19.live dashboard puts Mexico's COVID-19 deaths at 12,545 (Hat tip to @DanielRHicks.) The John Hopkins Coronavirus resource center agree.

The best graph I could find to correspond with the prediction was from Wikipedia:

enter image description here

It shows that by May 21, the actual deaths were outside the May 29 projections!

I currently have no explanation for this discrepancy. It makes this answer far muddier.

  • 1
    Do I need to mention that 6,859 deaths is still a tragedy? I hope this isn't seen as dismissive.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 20:14
  • 2
    The Coronavirus Dashboard reports 12,545 deaths to date. Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 20:26
  • @DanielRHicks: !!! Interesting. I haven't an explanation for this discrepancy.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 21:08
  • @Oddthinking Reporting holes or classification differences?
    – user11643
    Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 21:26
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    covid19-projections.com/about/#historical-performance has been pretty critical of the IHME models; they are updated far too infrequently and their parameters seem quite off, because they very quickly begin to fail after updates. The comparisons are for US-based models but it seems they've been tracking other countries accurately as well. For Mexico they're predicting 45,000 by mid/late July and >80,000 through August. The lower bound of their confidence interval is also in the range of 45k by the end of summer. Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 18:36

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