An influential coronavirus model often cited by the White House is now forecasting that 134,000 people will die of Covid-19 in the United States, nearly double its previous prediction.
The model, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, had predicted 72,433 deaths as of Monday morning.
Relatedly, a Trump administration model projects a rise in coronavirus cases and deaths in the weeks ahead, up to about 3,000 daily deaths in the US by June 1, according to an internal document obtained by The New York Times. Over the past week, about 2,000 people died daily in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The sharp increases in the two models are tied to relaxed social distancing and increased mobility in the US. States across the country – including Florida, Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska and South Carolina – have eased restrictions in an attempt to revive a sputtering economy and calm restless residents.
IHME director Dr. Christopher Murray told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that other factors included states adding presumptive coronavirus deaths to their statistics and the rising number of cases in some meatpacking plants in the country.
He said states have to balance their actions.
“I think the challenge for us all is to figure out what’s the trajectory of relaxing social distancing on a measured pace that will protect us from big increases or even a full-scale resurgence,” he told CNN.
The projections make clear that these reopenings come with fatal risks.