The coronavirus pandemic is getting so bad, so quickly, across the United States that an influential academic modeling group has hiked its forecast of deaths considerably.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine now predicts 471,000 people will die from Covid-19 by March 1.
That’s up from its forecast of 438,941 just a week ago.
"The pace of increase is faster than we expected, leading us to revise upward our forecast of deaths by March 1 to 471,000," the IHME said in its new report.
The group said their forecast "assumes that 40 states would reimpose social distancing mandates as the daily death rate exceeds 8 per million."
If states do not do this, the "death toll could reach 658,000 by March 1,” they added.
“Hospital systems in most states will be under severe stress during December and January even in our reference scenario. Increasing mask use to 95% can save 65,000 lives by March 1," the institute said.
This increased death forecast is even taking into account that the US has improved the infection-fatality ratio with better treatments.
“Our analysis suggests that after controlling for age, sex, comorbidities, and disease severity at admission, the hospital-fatality rate has declined by about 30% since March/April,” it said. Obesity is a major factor in the fatality rate, it said.