Deaths in the United States, the epicenter of the global pandemic, have averaged 2,000 a day since mid-April despite efforts to slow the outbreak.
The death toll is higher than any fatalities from the seasonal flu going back to 1967 and represents more US deaths than during the first 10 years of the AIDS epidemic, from 1981 to 1991.
US cases are over 1.25 million as new infections continue to rise in many states, including Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, according to a Reuters tally and an analysis of historical data from the COVID Tracking Project. New York and New Jersey, the two states with the highest number of cases, have been experiencing declines in new positive cases in recent weeks.
Some health experts are predicting a resurgence in deaths later this summer as US states lift stay-at-home orders and Americans begin eating out at restaurants and going to gyms again.
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A University of Washington research model here often cited by White House officials earlier this week nearly doubled its projected US death toll to over 134,000 by Aug. 4.
An internal Trump administration forecast predicted a surge in fatalities to 3,000 a day by the end of May.
States are eager to reopen due to surging unemployment rates. About 33.5 million people have filed claims for unemployment benefits since March 21, roughly 22.1% of the working-age population.
A 17-page document prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was shelved to avoid giving “overly prescriptive” guidance, said a member of President Donald Trump’s White House task force.