Huge spike projected in US Covid-19 cases, fatalities
As American states began easing restrictions with President Donald Trump cheering them along, a major spike in Covid-19 infections and fatalities was predicted in coming weeks by the administration and a widely cited public model that has pegged its projections to the removal of social-distancing curbs.
The daily death toll was projected to reach 3,000 by June 1, nearly double the current rate, and infections to 200,000 a day from the current 25,000 over the same period, according to an internal assessment of the Trump administration, reported first by the New York Times on Monday.
The cumulative US toll was projected to rise to 134,475 by August 4, according to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation IHME), a University of Washington body whose projections are widely cited by the White House. Its forecast is double its previous projection of 72,433 over the same period.
The spike in the internal assessment was ascribed to “large number of counties whose burden continues to grow”, according the New York Times.
But the IHME forecast was clear. “The revised projections reflect rising mobility in most US states as well as the easing of social distancing measures expected in 31 states by May 11, indicating that growing contacts among people will promote transmission of the coronavirus,” it said in a statement.
President Trump has aggressively pushed for reopening the country and a return to normalcy with an eye on his re-election, even as he has had to temper his display of optimism by continuously revising upwards his own assessment of fatalities — he is now saying it can hit 100,000.
At 68,920 on Monday, the toll was way past the American president’s earlier forecast of 60,000, and is poised to overtake not only his subsequent projections but also IHME’s.
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