COVID-19 projections show higher death tolls ahead

Coronavirus models
This chart shows the daily U.S. death toll due to COVID-19 as a solid red line on the left, with a dotted line that traces the seven-day rolling average. To the right, the gray area shows the range of uncertainty in today’s projection from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, with a dashed trend line that stabilizes and then rises sharply. The pink area shows the range of uncertainty for Youyang Gu’s C19Pro projection, with a dotted trend line that gradually rises and then falls. (IHME / Graphics)

The latest projections for the course of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. suggest that there’s going to be an upswing in the daily death toll, but they differ in how that upswing will develop.

If you go by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, whose computer models have been closely watched since the early days of the pandemic, the trend appears likely to stabilize at somewhere between 650 and 750 COVID-related deaths per day nationwide through the start of September. Then the model calls for a steady rise to more than 1,400 daily deaths by October.

The institute’s best guess is that the cumulative U.S. death toll will exceed 200,000 on Oct. 1. The current U.S. death toll, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus dashboard, is just over 116,000.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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