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A Covid-19 disaster morgue made up of refrigerated trailers is pictured at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in New York, on December 14. Michael Nagle/Xinhua/Getty

The influential coronavirus model at the University of Washington is projecting 562,000 Americans will have died from Covid-19 by April 1, 2021 — up significantly from the prediction it made last week, when it forecast 502,000 deaths by that date.

The model from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) says the increase is due to surges in cases and deaths, with particularly large increases in California. This is putting a huge amount of stress on the hospital system.

“47 states will have high or extreme stress on hospital beds at some point in December through April,” IHME predicted. “49 states will have high or extreme stress on ICU capacity in December through April.”

“Overall, we expect the national daily death toll to continue increasing to a peak of over 3,750 in mid-January,” the statement reads.

Mitigating factors: The vaccination rollout could save as many as 34,500 lives by April 1, IHME predicts.

The institute again stressed the importance of mask-wearing to keep the numbers down.

“If 95% of people wore a mask when leaving home, the model projects 55,000 fewer deaths by that date,” it said. “As of December 14, we estimated that 73% of people always wore a mask when leaving their home.”

IHME analyzed mobility across the US and found that visits to restaurants and bars declined in November following increases over the summer.

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