Model predicts 350,000 coronavirus deaths if all states end lockdowns

Nearly 350,000 Americans would die by the end of June if all states lifted their coronavirus lockdowns Tuesday, according to a new analysis.

The prediction is part of a new model from the University of Pennsylvania aiming to chart how state reopenings would directly impact coronavirus cases, death tolls, employment and the nation’s GDP.

“At this point, there’s been little to no existing work that’s really quantified the trade-off between the economic impacts and epidemiological outcomes from COVID-19,” said Kent Smetters, professor at Penn’s Wharton School.

“Even if you’re just interested in the health outcomes, you really need an integrated framework to understand how reopening will, in fact, impact these health outcomes.”

If each state maintained its lockdown, the United States would suffer 116,523 deaths as well as a loss of 18.6 million jobs between May 1 and June 29.

And if each state fully reopened, with current social distancing measures, the death rate would soar to 349,812 but with the loss of half of a million jobs during that period.

A partial opening where states lift stay-at-home orders and school closures would result in 161,664 deaths and the loss of 11 million jobs, according to the estimates.

“How we value lives against economic outcomes, these are decisions that we need to make democratically through our elected officials,” Alex Arnon, senior analyst at The Penn Wharton Budget Model, told the local CBS affiliate.

The forecasts rely on data from Johns Hopkins University and the American Community Survey, among other sources, with plans to update the model each week.

The model was released Tuesday as states begin reopening despite cases continuing to climb nationwide.

The White House is beginning to change the way they address the pandemic, with Vice President Mike Pence confirming Tuesday his coronavirus task force will begin winding down later this month.

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