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Peter Graven Did the Math That Shut Down Oregon. What Does He See Now?

“To be honest, we’re right back where we started,” he says.

WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

For the first time, Distant Voices has a return guest: Peter Graven, the man who produces the grimmest forecasts in Oregon.

Graven, 42, is the lead data scientist at Oregon Health & Science University and a teacher in health economics. In March, he built a model to see what would happen if the state took no social distancing precautions. He forecast that severe COVID cases would rapidly overwhelm hospital beds. His projections played a foundational role in persuading Gov. Kate Brown to lock down the state.

Oregon reopened in June. Cases are again increasing. Brown faces renewed calls to shut it down.

What does Graven think this time?

"To be honest, we're right back where we started," he says. Graven points to the state hospitalization rate, which this week returned to its April highs.

So what does he predict now? In an interview with WW Editor Mark Zusman, he offers a fresh assessment.