The coffin of a person who died after contracting Covid-19 will be loaded into a hearse in El Cajon, California on January 15, 2021. Mario Tama / Getty Images

More than 600,000 Americans will have died from Covid-19 by June 1, according to the latest forecast from the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Assessment (IHME).

The model projected a number of 614,503 Americans – slightly less than the forecast published last week that predicted 631,000 deaths.

According to IHME, warmer weather and wider vaccination could help reduce transmission between now and August.

“We estimate the vaccination will reach 145 million adults by June 1 and that this scale-up will prevent 114,000 deaths,” IHME said in a statement.

More than 50 million vaccine doses have been administered nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And if 95% of Americans started wearing masks in the next week, 34,000 lives could be saved.

The British variant: The spread of virus variant B.1.1.7 identified for the first time in Great Britain could make a possible decline more difficult. At least 981 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant have been found in 37 states, the CDC said this week.

The team said it was taking into account the anticipated variation included in its projections for that forecast. In the worst case scenario, deaths in the US could reach 645,000 by June 1.

Other factors: Progress could also be reversed if people abandon their guards, IHME said.

“Transmission was curbed over the winter by wearing masks, decreased mobility and avoiding high-risk settings such as indoor eating,” IHME said. “As the daily number of cases decreases and vaccination increases, behavior is likely to change in the direction of an increased risk of transmission.”


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