Joining social distancing boosts projected mortality in the United States

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Better-than-expected social distancing practices have led an influential research model to reduce the expected number of coronavirus deaths in the United States by 12%, while anticipating that some states may begin to ease Safe restrictions from May 4.

FILE PHOTO: People queuing at a safe social distance outside the grocery store in the midst of the coronavirus disease epidemic (COVID-19) in Medford, Massachusetts, United States, April 4, 2020 REUTERS / Brian Snyder

The University of Washington’s predictive model, regularly updated and often cited by state public health officials and White House officials, predicted Friday that the virus will kill 60,308 people in the United States. here on August 4, compared to 68,841 deaths expected earlier in the week.

Strict compliance with governors’ home stay orders and business closings in 42 of 50 states in the past four weeks to curb the spread of the virus has been cited as a key factor in improving prospects .

“We are seeing a decline in numbers because some state and local governments, and just as importantly, individuals across the country, have taken action to protect their families, neighbors, friends and colleagues by reducing physical contact Said Christopher Murray. , director of the University Institute of Metrology and Health Assessment (IHME).

The institute said that low-death states, including Vermont, West Virginia, Montana and Hawaii, could safely relax restrictions on May 4, as long as they continue to limit social gatherings. States attempting to relax home support measures are also urged to institute generalized screening for infections and to isolate anyone who tests positive, while seeking out and quarantining their close contacts.

Other largely rural or sparsely populated states, including Iowa, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Utah, Arkansas and Oklahoma, may have to wait until late June or early July, said the institute. He also recommended that states only reopen if they have infection rates of less than one in 1 million people.

The latest predictions from the model for the first time incorporated data on cellphones which suggested that people had started having less contact with each other earlier than expected, especially in the South, as an increasing number of States imposed social distancing and residence orders.

The model’s earlier assumptions were based on state policy regardless of the public’s reaction to them.

The latest update to the University of Washington model came as the number of known coronavirus infections in the United States exceeded 700,000 in most countries. At the same time, the number of deaths from COVID-19, the lung disease caused by the virus, has soared to more than 35,000. New York State is responsible for almost half of these deaths.

Friday marked the fourth consecutive day that the number of deaths from COVID-19 nationwide has increased by more than 2,000 in 24 hours.

Report by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Steve Gorman and Alex Richardson

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.

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