Projected U.S. Death Toll Doubles From 60,000 to 135,000 Due to Lax Social Distancing

May 5, 2020

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The number of Americans predicted to die of COVID-19 complications by August has more than doubled, with experts blaming the increased death toll on lax social distancing. On Monday, estimates from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Modeling and Evaluation--which the White House has cited as a key model for the virus' spread--adjusted its projection from roughly 60,000 U.S. deaths by August 4 to nearly 135,000 deaths. IHME director Chris Murray said Monday on MNSBC that the increase is due to the fact that "people are out, getting more active in the last week or 10 days...We're seeing that there's taking-off of social distancing. That has a direct impact on how much contact and mobility that people will have.” Meanwhile, The New York Times reported Monday that internal White House documents are just as dire, predicting 3,000 U.S. deaths per day by June 1--twice as high as the current rate of 1,500 daily deaths.