WASHINGTON: The US death toll from the COVID-19 outbreak could exceed 74,000 by August, according to the University of Washington's predictive model, often cited by White House officials and state public health authorities.
Late on Monday, the university's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model raised its projected US death toll to 74,073 by Aug 4, up from nearly 67,000 predicted a week ago, and 60,000 predicted two weeks ago.
The figure is down from about a month ago, when it projected around 90,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States.
IHME director Christopher Murray said the death toll would climb if states reopen their economies too early.
Several US states have eased restrictions on businesses, and more are ready to follow.
Stay-at-home orders issued by governors across the United States and subsequent decisions to slowly reopen state economies have turned into highly charged political issues in recent weeks as the shutdowns have hammered the nation's economy.
US COVID-19 deaths surpassed 56,000 on Monday, according to a Reuters tally. The United States has by far the world's largest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at more than 993,000.
Globally, cases have topped 3 million, with a total of more than 210,000 deaths, Reuters calculations show.