Coronavirus pandemic model increases predicted US death toll to 74,000

A coronavirus pandemic model has increased the predicted US death toll from the disease to 74,000 – up 14,000 from the previous estimate, according to a report.

“Our forecast now is for 74,000 deaths. That’s our best estimate. The range is pretty wide because there’s a lot of unknown factors there, but our best estimate is going up, and we see these protracted, long peaks in some states,” Dr. Chris Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Help Metrics and Evaluation, told CNN.

“We’re also seeing signs in the mobility data that people are getting more active, and that’s also feeding into our assessment,” he added.

The model had previously predicted 60,000 deaths from the bug.

Murray said the new data would affect his institute’s recommendations on when social distancing measures could be eased on a state-by-state basis, adding that they would move past the mid-May to early June dates they had previously suggested.

He said he believes states are opening too soon.

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“If you’re focused on trying to protect people’s health, then the answer is absolutely. It’s a safer strategy to get the number of infections in the community down to a really low level and then testing and contact tracing and isolation can work,” Murray told CNN.

More than 56,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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