An influential scientific model often cited by the White House regarding possible deaths from the Coronavirus dramatically increased its forecast on Monday, now estimating the virus outbreak will result in the deaths of over 134,000 Americans by early August, up from a prediction of 74,000 deaths at that point just a week ago.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington has often been held out by the White House Coronavirus task force as an important forecast, is now estimating another 47,000 Americans will die in the month of May from the virus.
While that's less than the over 60,000 in April - such a figure would bring the death toll over 100,000, higher than President Donald Trump's most recent public guess.
"I used to say 65,000," the President told Fox News on Sunday. "And now I'm saying 80 or 90, and it goes up and it goes up rapidly."
In a written statement, the IHME said the reason for the increase in possible deaths was simple - states are loosening restrictions which had kept many businesses shuttered, and many Americans social isolated.
"These projections reflect increased human mobility and the easing of social distancing measures in many US states," the group noted.
The projected deaths through early August from the group range from a low of 95,092 to a maximum of 242,890.
"The revised projections reflect rising mobility in most US states as well as the easing of social distancing measures expected in 31 states by May 11, indicating that growing contacts among people will promote transmission of the coronavirus," the institute added in a statement.
The revisions in the IHME model came as the number of US deaths edged over 68,000 - though it was one of the slowest days for reporting of deaths since April 1, the last time the daily death toll was below 1,000.