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A widely cited model predicts that the coronavirus will kill nearly 170,000 Americans by early October with a second wave of the virus expected in September

The new forecast from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington paints a grim picture for the summer, a time when some had hoped the spread of the virus would slow.

The U.S. case count surpassed the 2 million mark this week, with health officials reporting nearly 113,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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TOPSHOT - "Black Lives Matter" New York protesters demonstrate in Times Square over the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on June 7, 2020 in New York. - On May 25, 2020, Floyd, a 46-year-old black man suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, died in Minneapolis after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee to Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo by BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images)

Previous estimates of the IHME model, which has been cited by the White House, only examined possible cases through August. But now, it predicts 169,890 deaths by Oct. 1, with a possible range between 133,201 and 290,222.

“We’re now able to look ahead and see where states need to begin planning for a second wave of COVID-19,” IHME Director Christopher Murray said in a statement. “We hope to see our model proven wrong by the swift actions governments and individuals take to reduce transmission.”

The forecast used data through June 6, so large gatherings due to Memorial Day and protests were included. It considers several factors, like mobility data, testing and mask use.

Researchers behind the model predict that deaths will remain somewhat steady through most of August and increase in September. However, some states, like Florida, Arizona, Georgia and Colorado could see upticks sooner.

Reported cases of the virus are increasing across several states, including Florida, North Carolina and Texas. In Arizona, the state has seen large spikes just three weeks after the governor lifted his stay-at-home order. Medical professionals are concerned for hospital capacities as the state’s death toll tops 1,100 and hospitalizations are dramatically increasing.


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