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Model shows US death toll from COVID-19 keeps rising

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People walk on the beach at dusk during the coronavirus pandemic on May 7, 2020 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (AFP photo)

A newly revised coronavirus mortality model predicts more than 137,000 Americans will die from the coronavirus by early August, up from its previous forecast of 134,000 deaths.

The projection was made from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle.

That rising death toll projection is largely due to Americans moving around more before statewide measures were relaxed, the institute’s director Dr. Christopher Murray said Monday in a news release.

"Unless and until we see accelerated testing, contact tracing, isolating people who test positive, and widespread use of masks in public, there is a significant likelihood of new infections," Murray said in the release.

The upward spike reflects increasing human interactions as more states begin to ease social-distancing requirements - the chief public health tool available to curb the spread of a highly contagious virus.

The novel coronavirus is already known to have infected over 1,340,000 people and killed nearly 80,000 in the United States, according to Reuters' own tally.

President Donald Trump’s administration has begun informal talks with Republicans and Democrats in Congress about what to include in another round of coronavirus relief legislation.

Since early March, Congress has passed bills allocating $3 trillion to combat the pandemic, including taxpayer money for individuals and companies to blunt an economic impact that includes an unemployment rate to 14.7% in April after US job losses unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The April unemployment rate announced by the Labor Department undercounts some out-of-work Americans, economists say.

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