A coronavirus model now forecasts that nearly 135,000 people will die of COVID-19 in the United States by early August — almost double its previous projection.
The revised projections, as shown in an influential model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which is often cited by the White House, reflect increasing mobility in most U.S. states as well as the easing of social distancing measures expected in 31 states by May 11, indicating that more human-to-human contact will promote virus transmission. A rise in testing and contact tracing along with warmer weather — factors that could help slow transmission — don’t offset increasing mobility, according to a press release from the institute.
“In each state, the evolution of the epidemic depends on the balance between relaxed social distancing, increasing temperature, and rising rates of testing and contact tracing,” Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said in a statement Monday. “We expect that the epidemic in many states will now extend through the summer.”
Nearly 69,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States thus far, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.