Coronavirus News USA

Key coronavirus model will revise projections to nearly 135,000 US deaths

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Funeral Director Omar Rodriguez walks by caskets at Gerard J. Neufeld funeral home in Queens, New York, on April 26.
Funeral Director Omar Rodriguez walks by caskets at Gerard J. Neufeld funeral home in Queens, New York, on April 26. Bryan R. Smith/Reuters

An influential coronavirus model often cited by the White House said in a press release that it plans to revise its projections to nearly 135,000 Covid-19 deaths in the United States, an increase that one of its researchers tied to relaxed social distancing and increased mobility.

The model, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, previously predicted 72,433 deaths as of Monday morning. A press release from IHME said the full set of new projections will be released later this afternoon.

Ali Mokdad, a professor of Health Metrics Sciences at IHME, referenced the updated projections on CNN earlier today, but said he couldn’t provide the specific number.

“We are seeing, of course, a rise in projected deaths for several reasons,” he told CNN’s John King on Inside Politics. “One of them is increased mobility before the relaxation, premature relaxation of social distancing, we’re adding more presumptive deaths as well, and we’re seeing a lot of outbreaks in the Midwest, for example.”

He said multiple variables impact infections – like heat, testing capacity and population density – but “the most important one is mobility.”

Right now, he said, “we’re seeing an increase in mobility that’s leading to an increase in mortality unfortunately in the United States.”

The IHME director, Dr. Christopher Murray, will be holding a press briefing at 4 p.m. ET today with additional details.

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