May 10, 2020 - Health

Key virus modeler says rise in mobility is driving up death projection

Christopher Murray, director of University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday that his coronavirus model projects that more than 137,000 people in the United States may die from the virus by August.

Why it matters: Murray's influential IHME model, which is one of the forecasts used by the White House, has been criticized for frequently revising its projections. Murray said his team is tracking cellphone data and has seen "explosive increases in mobility in a number of states" that will likely translate into more cases and deaths in 10 days.

What he's saying: "We're seeing, in some states, a 20 percentage point increase in just 1o days in mobility, and that will translate into more human contact, more transmission," Murray said.

  • Murray explained that the rise in mobility is likely a result of states relaxing lockdown measures and of people simply growing tired of staying indoors.
  • "The places that are taking off the social distancing mandates, the bump in mobility appears to be larger," he said. "So somewhere like Georgia, which was one of the first, we're seeing is in that category of a pretty big increase."

The big picture: More than half the states in the U.S. have begun lifting some coronavirus restrictions or outlined plans to do so, despite few, if any, meeting the White House's criteria for reopening economies. This has prompted concerns among many health experts that there could be another surge in cases.

Go deeper: Where the virus is spreading fastest

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Updated 17 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

Coronavirus cases spike in Texas, Oregon and Arizona

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise, Naema Ahmed/Axios

Texas, Arizona and Oregon saw significant spikes last week in new coronavirus infections, while cases also continued to climb in a handful of states where steady increases have become the norm.

Why it matters: Nationwide, new cases have plateaued over the past week. To get through this crisis and safely continue getting back out into the world, we need them to go down — a lot.

19 hours ago - Health

HHS requests data on race and ethnicity with coronavirus test results

A nurse writes a note as a team of doctors and nurses performs a procedure on a coronavirus patient in the Regional Medical Center on May 21 in San Jose, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.