Influential coronavirus model projects 137,000 U.S. deaths by August
Washington — One of the leading models for measuring the impact of the coronavirus is now projecting a total of 137,184 cumulative COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. through the beginning of August, an increase of roughly 2,700 deaths from its previous forecast May 4.
Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, predicted the number of cases to particularly increase in areas where people become more mobile.
“What’s driving the change is, simply put, the rise in mobility, and that’s the key driver,” Murray said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “We’re seeing in some states, you know, a 20-percentage-point increase in just 10 days in mobility. And that will translate into more human contact, more transmission.”
Murray said states which have “big increases in mobility” may see a significant uptick in cases in the coming weeks. The top five states with increased mobility are Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Georgia, Murray said.
“We’re seeing just explosive increases in mobility in a number of states that we expect will translate into more cases and deaths in 10 days from now,” Murray said.
Murray said there was a decrease in projected cases coming from New York, New Jersey and Michigan, which have been epicenters of the pandemic, but that there was an increase in states like Illinois, Arizona, Florida and California.
“We really are going to have to wait and see,” Murray said.
Several states are preparing to partially or fully reopen their economies, which could lead to greater travel between states. Murray advised against significant travel, and urged Americans to try to “minimize exposure” to other people.
“Personal advice would be protect yourselves, wear a mask, and try to minimize interactions with others,” Murray said.