US COVID-19 death toll could reach 74,000 by August, model predicts

Coronavirus fatalities hit 58,000 with 1,026,000 cases in the U.S. as experts raise death toll estimate to more than 74,000 by August and states prepare to open up

  • The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model, often cited by White House officials, raised its COVID-19 death toll projections on Monday 
  • It now projects 74,073 Americans will die from the coronavirus by August 4, which is up from nearly 67,000 a week ago and 60,000 predicted two weeks ago
  • This model, along with several others cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, predict that reopening states too soon and relaxing social distancing measures will result in even more deaths
  • All national-level forecasts indicate that deaths are likely to continue rising over the next four weeks 
  • It comes as the US death toll reached more than 58,000 while the number of infections increased to more than 1,026,000
  • IHME director Christopher Murray said the toll would increase if states reopen their economies too early 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The US death toll from the coronavirus outbreak could reach 74,000 by August, according to a leading predictive model – as health experts warn fatalities will increase if states reopen too early.  

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model, often cited by White House officials, raised its COVID-19 death toll projections on Monday.

The model now projects 74,073 Americans will die from the coronavirus by August 4, which is up from nearly 67,000 a week ago and 60,000 predicted two weeks ago. 

The latest figure is down from about a month ago when the model projected around 90,000 deaths related to coronavirus in the US. 

This model, along with several others cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, predict that reopening states too soon and relaxing social distancing measures will result in even more deaths.  

It comes as the US death toll reached more than 58,000 Tuesday while the number of infections increased to more than 1,026,000. 

IHME director Christopher Murray said the death toll would increase if states reopen their economies too early. 

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model projects 74,073 Americans will die from the coronavirus by August 4

The predicted peak day for daily COVID-19 deaths in the US appeared to be on April 15 when 2,698 deaths were recorded

The IHME model predicts the peak of hospital use in the US occurred seven days ago on April 21

The model’s increased projection is, in part, due to many states experiencing flatter and longer peaks. Daily deaths are not falling very quickly after the peak, which leads to longer tails for epidemic curves in many states, researchers say. 

Less abrupt peaks and slower declines in daily deaths after the peak could result in many states having a higher death toll, according to the model. 

The model indicates that seven states – Hawaii, Mississippi, Texas, Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska, and North Dakota – may be experiencing their peaks now or could be in the coming weeks. 

Other models, including the IHME, that are developed independently but cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offer similar predictions for soaring death tolls depending on how much social distancing and contact reduction is practiced. 

All national-level forecasts indicate that deaths are likely to continue rising over the next four weeks, according to the CDC.   

The forecasts cited by the CDC track the number of COVID-19 death since February and show the estimated deaths across the US in the next month.

All of the models assume that existing social distancing measures will continue, while the Columbia University models makes various assumptions on the effectiveness of current social distancing interventions. 

The CDC says that the models – like IHME – that incorporate strong social distancing measures suggest that new deaths will continue to occur but will slow substantially over the next four weeks, while models that don’t incorporate such strong contact reductions – like the Columbia University ones – will see deaths rise more quickly.

A MOBS model by Northwestern’s Laboratory for the Modeling of Biological + Socio-technical Systems predicts that there could be nearly 34,000 unmitigated deaths by May 18. If mitigation measures are in place, the deaths could reach just over 600 by that same date.

Meanwhile, a COVID-19 simulator tool developed by Massachusetts General Hospital and Georgia Tech University predicts that current restrictions being implemented in various states could see the US death toll reach about 86,000 fatalities by August 30. 

These forecasts cited by the CDC track the number of COVID-19 death since February and show the estimated deaths across the US in the next four four weeks. All of the models assume that existing social distancing measures will continue, while the Columbia University (CU) models makes various assumptions on the effectiveness of current social distancing interventions

This MOBS model by the Laboratory for the Modeling of Biological + Socio-technical Systems predicts that there could be nearly 34,000 unmitigated deaths by May 18. If mitigation measures are in place, the deaths could reach just over 600 by that same date

This COVID-19 simulator tool developed by Massachusetts General Hospital and Georgia Tech University predicts that current restrictions being implemented in various states could see the US death toll reach about 86,000 fatalities by August 30

The model estimates that even lifting restrictions gradually over the next month could result in 23,400 projected deaths by August 30 in Georgia

In Texas, the model predicts deaths could reach 12,800 by August 30 if restrictions are lifted after four weeks of stay at home orders

New COVID-19 simulator projects Georgia could see more than 23,000 deaths and Texas could reach 12,300 fatalities by the end of summer if they relax lockdown measures too soon  

A new COVID-19 simulator tool is projecting that Georgia could see more than 23,000 deaths by the end of summer if the state is found to have relaxed its coronavirus lockdown measures too soon. 

Georgia is among the fastest in the US to reopen its coronavirus-ravaged economy despite warnings from health experts of a potential surge in infections and disapproval from President Donald Trump. 

The model simulator, created by the Massachusetts General Hospital and Georgia Tech University, estimates that even lifting restrictions gradually over the next month could result in 23,400 projected deaths by August 30.

Keeping current restrictions in place until July could contain the epidemic and could result in about 2,000 deaths, according to the model.  

If a more restrictive lockdown was initiated for four weeks, which would include bans on inter-state travel and local travel, the estimated deaths by August 30 would be 1,680, the model found.  

Meanwhile in Texas, the model predicts deaths could reach 12,800 by August 30 if restrictions are lifted after four weeks of stay at home orders.

Those projected death would decrease to 1,180 if restrictions are lifted after three months. 

Texas partially reopened last week but the governor announced on Monday that state’s stay-at-home order would expire April 30. 

The modeling predicts that current restrictions being implemented in various states could see the US death toll reach about 86,000 fatalities by the end of the summer.    

 

THE US STATES REOPENING: 

Montana: From May 4 

Missouri: May 4 

Ohio: From May 1 

Iowa: May 1

Alabama: From April 30 

Minnesota: From April 27

Mississippi: From April 27 

Tennessee: From April 27

Colorado: From April 27 

Alaska: From April 24 

Georgia: From April 24 

Oklahoma: From April 24

South Carolina: From April 20

Texas: From April 20 

Multiple states have now eased lockdown restrictions to kickstart their economies amid the pandemic. Even more states are ready to follow. 

Stay-at-home orders issued by governors across the United States and subsequent decisions to slowly reopen state economies have turned into highly charged political issues in recent weeks as the shutdowns have hammered the nation’s economy.  

Alabama, Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota and Mississippi are the latest to partially lift coronavirus lockdown measures. 

Colorado, Montana, Tennessee, Georgia, Oklahoma, Alaska and South Carolina have all restarted their economies following weeks of mandatory lockdowns that have thrown millions of American workers out of their jobs.  

Texas partially reopened last week but the governor announced on Monday that state’s stay-at-home order would expire April 30. 

It comes despite warnings from health experts that increasing human interactions and economic activity too soon may spark a new surge of infections.  

Georgia started letting residents dine at restaurants and watch movies at theaters on Monday as more states from Minnesota to Mississippi took steps to ease coronavirus restrictions even though health experts warned it may be too early. 

Keen to revive their battered economies, Colorado, Montana and Tennessee were also set to reopen some businesses. 

Alaska, Oklahoma and South Carolina, along with Georgia, previously took such steps following weeks of mandatory lockdowns that threw millions of Americans out of work. 

Business shutdowns have led to a record 26.5 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits since mid-March with forecasts by the Trump administration that the jobless rate would likely hit 16% or more in April.  

Public health authorities warn that increasing human interactions and economic activity may spark a fresh surge of infections just as social-distancing measures appeared to be bringing coronavirus cases under control. 

It comes as a COVID‑19 mobility trends tool created by Apple shows that an increasing number of people in various major cities are now leaving the house more compared to the beginning of the month. 

In Philadelphia, 20 percent more people were out walking on the weekend compared to the beginning of April. 

New York has seen a 10 percent increase in the number of people walking, while Detroit has seen a 19 percent increase. 

In Atlanta – where lockdown restrictions were partially lifted last week – there has been a 22 percent increase in people out walking compared to the beginning of the month.  

The majority of Americans – about 95 percent – have been under stay-at-home orders for several weeks now in a bid to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.  

Meanwhile, an analysis of smartphone data from the University of Maryland has shown that the nationwide social distancing index has dropped three percent, which equates to millions of people leaving their homes. 

According to the university’s data, 44 out of 50 states are going backwards in terms of social distancing. The largest shifts have been in the south with Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee among the worst offenders.  

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