Public health expert expects increase in cases in states lifting restrictions

Public health expert expects increase in cases in states lifting restrictions
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The director of the Institute for Health Metrics at the University of Washington said Sunday that he expects the number of COVID-19 cases will rise in the next 10 days in states lifting stay-at-home restrictions sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Christopher Murray said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that social distancing was shown to help stop the spread of COVID-19 transmission. 

“Now that we're coming out, the big question mark is will people’s own behavior — acting responsibly, wearing a mask, avoiding coming into physical close contact — will that be enough to counteract the effects of rising mobility?” he asked. “And so we really are going to have to wait and see,  our suspicion is there will be about 10 days from now in these places that have had these big increases in mobility we are expecting to see a jump in cases.” 

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Murray said Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Georgia have had the highest increase in their residents' mobility-- as the states or nearby ones move to reopen. Additional states have had 10- to 15-percentage-point increases in mobility, he added. 

“We may see quite a lot of states tipping toward increasing cases in the next two weeks,” he said.

The White House has referenced the forecasting model created by Murray and other University of Washington researchers.