US nears 80,000 coronavirus deaths as states start reopening

A patient is transported from the Terence Cardinal Cooke health care center on the upper east side in New York, New York, USA. EPA-EFE/Peter Foley

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A leading model has upped its US coronavirus death toll projection again as governors continue lifting measures toward a reopening.

The model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington now forecasts more than 137,000 Americans will die by early August.

That rise is largely due to Americans moving around more, IHME director Dr. Christopher Murray said in a news release, adding that in some places the upward trend in movements began before statewide measures were relaxed. Researchers tracked that movement through anonymous cell phone data, according to the release.

“Unless and until we see accelerated testing, contact tracing, isolating people who test positive, and widespread use of masks in public, there is a significant likelihood of new infections,” Murray said in the release.

States began setting reopening plans in late April — with governors in South Carolina and Georgia leading the way with some of the most aggressive plans — and by this week, nearly every state has begun relaxing restrictions.

Read more via CNN/ IHME

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