Key model raises U.S. COVID-19 death forecast to more than 470,000 by March

A look into the months ahead as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

WASHINGTON — So many of us hoped that by November, we would have a cure for COVID-19 and life would be back to normal, but the virus continues to take its toll across the country. And the next several months could look similar.

The numbers keep going up -- with the death toll from COVID-19 in the U.S. now at more than 250,000.

“Our rate of rise is higher than what it even was in the summer. We have hospitalizations going up 25%,” said Adm. Brett Giroir, with the Department of Health and Human Services.

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An added concern is that deaths from the virus are predicted to get a lot worse.

An influential model estimates 471,000 people will die from the coronavirus by March 1. That’s up from a prediction of nearly 439,000 just a week ago.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine has been working on the model since the pandemic started.

The institute’s latest forecast assumes that 40 states will re-impose social distancing mandates, but if they don’t, deaths could skyrocket to 658,000 by March 1.

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