KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 – The White House now predicts Covid-19 fatalities in the United States to hit 134,000, almost double its previous forecast at 72,433, according to CNN.
The forecast is based on a coronavirus model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
Another model by the Trump administration predicts about 3,000 deaths every day from June 1, according to an internal document sighted by The New York Times. The past week saw a daily death count at 2,000 daily.
“The sharp increases in the two models are tied to relaxed social distancing and increased mobility in the US. States across the country — including Florida, Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska and South Carolina — have eased restrictions in an attempt to revive a sputtering economy and calm restless residents,” CNN said.
Other factors may also contribute to the increase, such as states adding presumptive coronavirus deaths to their statistics and the rising number of cases in some meatpacking plants in the country, said IHME director Dr Christopher Murray.
“I think the challenge for us all is to figure out what’s the trajectory of relaxing social distancing on a measured pace that will protect us from big increases or even a full-scale resurgence,” he told CNN.
IHME health metrics sciences professor said: “One of them [reasons for increased projections] 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.”
Trump previously said that 65,000 people are expected to succumb to the coronavirus, but he revised those numbers to 80,000 to 90,000 on Sunday night.
Dr Deborah Birx, a White House coronavirus task force official, also said projections have shown between 100,000 and 240,000 American deaths, even with social distancing.
The country’s social distancing measures has brought many of its people to streets protesting as they demanded to be allowed back to work and to go out and about. In many states in the US, the government has already allowed reopening in phases.
As at today, the US has 1.21 million Covid-19 cases and 69,921 deaths from the coronavirus.