Coronavirus Model Now Predicts Almost 140,000 Covid-19 Deaths In U.S.

( The projected death totals from COVID-19 continue to rise as governors across the country are lifting coronavirus-related movement restrictions.
The new forecast from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington predicts there will be 137,000 deaths in the U.S. as a result of COVID-19 by the beginning of August.
The direct of the IHME, Dr. Christopher Murray, said in a release that the increase in projected deaths is directly due to the increased mobility across the country, and the upward trend in movement of people that was beginning even before states began relaxing their restrictions. That movement was tracked through anonymous cell phone data, the release said.
“Unless and until we see accelerated testing, contact tracing, isolating people who test positive and widespread use of masks in public, there is a significant likelihood of new infections,” Murray said.
As of this week, just about every state in the country will have relaxed coronavirus-related restrictions at least somewhat. Some states such as Georgia and South Carolina have been more aggressive about re-opening, while mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states such as New York and New Jersey have been more conservative.
Many health experts have continued to caution about the dramatic negative effects re-opening too early could have. In spite of these warnings, states have begun to re-open even though they haven’t met the basic guidelines the White House released in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The ironic thing about the re-opening is that almost two-thirds of people in the U.S. said they were concerned that their state may be re-opening too early, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll. At the same time, protests have gone on throughout the country in recent weeks as people are pushing to get back to work.
Just like the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., states may not see a spike in confirmed COVID-19 infections and related deaths for at least a couple weeks after they begin to re-open. That, unfortunately, will probably lead to people feeling more comfortable moving about and not social distancing, which in turn may lead to an exponential increase in infections.
A case study for exactly this situation is taking place in South Korea right now. The country was one of the hardest-hit by the pandemic early on, but moved swiftly to lock it down and contain the virus. After relaxing restrictions, though, new cases are beginning to pop up, with many linked to large gatherings at bars and nightclubs in Seoul, the country’s capital.
On Sunday, South Korea reported 35 new cases, which marks the second day in a row that it reached that high, which is the highest tallies they’ve had in more than a month. Now, officials in South Korea are searching for other people who may have frequented those places to see if they’ve been infected as well.
In the United States, more than 1.36 million Americans have been infected and more than 80,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.