- Forecast from University Of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School model predicts COVID-19 cases will reach 5.4 million and death toll could be 290,000 by July 24
- Ominous forecast accounts for all states fully reopening without any social distancing measures
- In comparison, model predicts nearly 4.3 million cases and 230,000 deaths by July 24 if states reopen but individuals maintain their social distancing efforts
- Meanwhile, a separate model from the UMass Influenza Forecasting Center of Excellence is projecting that deaths will surpass 113,000 by mid-June
- Currently, there are more than 1.5 million cases and over 92,000 deaths across the United States
Coronavirus infections could reach as high as 5.4 million in the US in the next two months and more than 290,000 Americans could die if social distancing isn’t adhered to, according to a COVID-19 forecast model.
The ominous forecast from the University Of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School model accounts for all states fully reopening without any social distancing measures.
In comparison, the model predicts nearly 4.3 million cases and 230,000 deaths by July 24 if states reopen but individuals maintain their social distancing efforts.
If states only partially reopen by lifting stay-at-home orders but social distancing measures are still adhered to, the model forecasts 3.1 million infections and 172,000 deaths.
The best case scenario, which would involve each state maintaining lockdown restrictions as of May 17 with social distancing measures still in place, there could still be 2.8 million infections and 157,000 deaths.
The majority of US states had already lifted COVID-19 lockdown restrictions by mid-May.
Meanwhile, a separate model from the UMass Influenza Forecasting Center of Excellence is projecting that deaths will surpass 113,000 by mid-June.
The modeling average projection, compiled from nine models from separate institutions, predicted roughly 22,000 more Americans will succumb to the virus over the next 25 days.
‘The new forecast for cumulative US deaths by June 13 is about 113,000, with a 10 percent chance of seeing fewer than about 107,000 and a 10 percent chance of seeing more than 121,000,’ Nicholas Reich, director of the center, said.
The specific ensemble forecast average is 113,364 deaths by that date.
Currently, there are more than 1.5 million cases and over 92,000 deaths across the United States.
The latest projections come as most US states take steps – some minor, some more substantial – to re-open their shuttered economies and communities while facing the challenge of instilling confidence among Americans that it is safe to begin returning to normal.
The White House released guidelines last month on phased re-openings that included criteria which individual states were expected to meet before they began returning to normal, including a downward trajectory of new cases over a 14-day period.
Several states have been accused of re-opening despite failing to meet the specific criteria.
Hopes of curtailing the pandemic have proven elusive.
Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump said the United States would lose ‘anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people’.
On April 10, he predicted coronavirus deaths across the country would be ‘substantially below the 100,000’ figure and perhaps even as low as half that.
Deaths in the US are lower per million than eight European countries despite having the highest total number of deaths in the world, but America is lagging behind on testing with only three percent of the population having received tests, data shows.
For every 1 million residents, 280 have died from the virus in the US which is 0.028% of the population.
That is less than half the rate in Belgium where 797 per 1million died (0.08% of the population), and Spain, where 594 per 1million have died (0.06%). Italy and the UK are third and fourth with death rates. In Italy, 0.05% of the population died and in the UK, the number is 0.053%.
In addition to death and infection predictions, the Wharton model also forecasts the economic effects of states reopening.
The model forecasts a total of 294,000 job losses by the end of July and a 6.4 percent drop in the GDP compared to 2019 if lockdown measures in place by May 17 and social distancing is maintained.
In comparison, there could be 1.2million job losses and a 4.2 percent drop in GDP if states only partially reopen and 4.1 million job losses and a 3.3 percent GDP decline if they completely reopen.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which is among the model relied on by the White House, revised its death toll projection downwards on Tuesday.
The model lowered its projected death toll by 3,700 to a total of 143,357 by August.
The institute’s director Chris Murray told CNN the downward forecast was, in part, due to the increasing number of Americans who are wearing masks when they go out.
‘We were pretty surprised. We were expecting to probably go up because of the big surge in mobility,’ Murray said.
‘If you dig deeper and look into the fraction of people in different states who are wearing masks, we think that is the key difference there, both their behavior and mask wearing.
‘Forty percent of the US wears the mask all the time; about 80 percent wears a mask sometimes. And that is probably helping separate the rise in mobility.’
According to IHME’s data, in most of the northeast, California, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Illinois, Colorado and Arkansas, more than 80 percent of residents said they sometimes or always wear a mask when leaving home.
In only four states did fewer than 60 percent of residents say sometimes they wore them; South Carolina, Indiana, Wisconsin and Oklahoma.
Every other state’s, between 60 and 80 percent of residents said they sometimes wore them.
Only in some northeastern states like Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Maine did more than 60 percent of residents say they always wore them.