The key coronavirus model will modify projections for nearly 135,000 deaths in the United States

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Funeral director Omar Rodriguez walks treasure chests at Gerard J. Neufeld’s funeral home in Queens, New York, on April 26. Bryan R. Smith / Reuters

An influential coronavirus model often cited by the White House said in a press release that it plans to review its projections for approximately 135,000 Covid-19 deaths in the United States, an increase that one of his researchers linked to relaxed social distancing and greater mobility.

The model, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, had predicted 72,433 deaths as of Monday morning. An IHME press release says that the whole series of new screenings will be released in the afternoon.

Ali Mokdad, professor of Health Metrics Sciences at IHME, referred to the updated projections on CNN today, but said he could not provide the specific number.

“We are, of course, seeing an increase in expected deaths for several reasons,” he told CNN’s Inside Politics John King. “One of these is increased mobility before relaxation, the premature relaxation of social distancing, we are also adding more presumed deaths and seeing many outbreaks in the Midwest, for example.”

He said that more variables affect infections – such as heat, test capacity and population density – but “the most important is mobility”.

Right now, he said, “we are seeing an increase in mobility which is unfortunately leading to an increase in mortality in the United States.”

IHME director, Dr. Christopher Murray, will hold a press briefing at 4pm. ET today with more details.

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