A key model of the coronavirus pandemic favored by the White House nearly doubled its prediction Monday for how many people will die from the virus in the U.S. by August.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine is now projecting 134,000 coronavirus-related fatalities, up from a previous prediction of 72,000. Factoring in the scientists’ margin of error, the new prediction ranges from 95,000 to 243,000.
Dr. Christopher Murray, the director of IHME, told reporters on a call Monday the primary reason for the increase is many states’ “premature relaxation of social distancing.”
For the first time, Murray explained, the model is factoring in data from four different cell phone providers showing a major uptick in Americans’ going out in public.
This rise of mobility in the last week or 10 days is likely leading to an increase in transmission, he said.
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