147,000 Americans could die of coronavirus by August - Experts

A revised forecast model relied on by the White House is now projecting 147,000 Americans could die by August - an increase of 10,000 on projections from just two days ago - due to the easing of social distancing measures.

The latest forecast from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reflects changes in testing and mobility and social distancing measures being lifted.

The institute's director, Dr Christopher Murray, said on Tuesday that the US was 'speeding towards relaxing social distancing' and leaving the country on an 'unfortunate trajectory' as the majority of states ease their stay-at-home orders.

Currently, more than 83,000 Americans have died and 1.4 million have become infected with coronavirus. 

'When we started off making projections, we had assumed that all the states were going to sort of follow the New Zealand model, which is to keep social distancing in place until transmission gets to a very low level,' Dr Murray told CNN.

'We're not doing that. We're speeding towards relaxing social distancing. People are getting the message, they're getting out.'

'And I think we'll see the numbers go up unless we see the benefits of people being cautious, wearing masks – and capacities to test, contact trace and isolate go up faster than we think they may.'

The findings also detailed the projected deaths from the hardest-hit states in the country.

New York is predicted to see 2,448 extra coronavirus fatalities due to events played out in the past two days, raising the tally to 34,068 from the May 10 estimate of 31,620.

In New Jersey, where people are still locked down on the state's Stay at Home order, deaths are projected to reduce to 14,692 from 14,752, a decrease of 60 in comparison to two days ago.

Pennsylvania will see a sharp increase of 1,500 deaths from 10,742 to 12,420 while Massachusetts is set to clock in over 2,000, taking the projected number from 7,545 to 9,629.

Illinois will see an increase in 435 deaths, taking the forecast numbers from 7,395 to 7,830, according to the model.

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