A new model shows reopening states and ignoring the pandemic could result in more than 5 million people contracting coronavirus.
According to Yahoo Finance, a Penn Wharton Budget Model shows reopening states could cause positive coronavirus cases in the U.S. to jump to 5.4 million by the end of July. The model, which assumes states reopening May 18, explores various scenarios under which states reopen.
The model also includes lockdowns, a partial reopening, and takes into account whether social distancing rules would continue to be adhered to or are relaxed.
If states fully reopen with no social distancing rules in place, the model shows as many as 5.4 million people could contract coronavirus. If states reopen while still practicing measures of social distancing, the number drops to nearly 4.3 million. Partially reopening the states with social distancing rules in place would result in nearly 3.2 million positive cases, according to the model.
The current death toll in the United States is more than 91,000, according to Johns Hopkins. With states under a full lockdown, the model still projects the death toll at just over 156,000, an increase from its previous forecasts of 117,000.
A Penn Wharton Budget Model from May 1, showed more than 200,000 deaths related to coronavirus pandemic.
Although the model predicts a significant rise in cases and deaths, it does show that the economy will rebound faster if states are reopened. According to the model, if states stay in lockdown with social distancing orders in place, the U.S. GDP will shrink by 10.8% year over year by July 24.
However, reopening states will save the country from severe economic losses. If states reopen, the GDP would decline by 7.7% compared to 2019. If social distancing is reduced, GDP would decline by 6.6%.
Reopening states in spite of the coronavirus would also benefit job growth. More than 30 million Americans are currently unemployed. But if states reopened, 1 million jobs would be created by the end of July. If states aren’t reopened, millions more will join the unemployed ranks.