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University model predicts US could nearly double COVID-19 cases by Jan. 20

University model predicts US could nearly double COVID-19 cases by Jan. 20
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A model from Washington University in St. Louis predicts that the United States could nearly double in COVID-19 cases by Inauguration Day.

The model predicts that the U.S. could reach 20 million cases by Jan. 20, CNN reports, nearly doubling the current 12.4 million infections already reported.

The model comes as the U.S. experiences a surge in hospitalizations and infections ahead of the winter months. Experts have warned that cases would rise as the colder weather forces people to spend more time indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week warned against traveling for Thanksgiving as cases spread, and several states have imposed new lockdowns and tighter coronavirus restrictions in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus around the holiday.

More than 3.1 million cases were reported in the U.S. since the beginning of November, CNN noted, the most reported in a single month. On Sunday, the nation marked the 20th straight day of more than 100,000 new confirmed cases.

According to the COVID Tracking Project, the U.S. set a new record for hospitalizations for the 14th consecutive day Monday, with 85,836 people hospitalized.

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A projection from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation predicts that another 140,000 Americans could die from the virus over the next two months, CNN notes. More than 258,000 people have already died from the virus. 

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenWoman accused of trying to sell Pelosi laptop to Russians arrested Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Trump moves to lift coronavirus travel restrictions on Europe, Brazil MORE has made confronting the pandemic a central focus when he takes office in January. In addition to assembling his coronavirus task force, he's met with a bipartisan group of governors on addressing the pandemic. 

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisSenate majority offers Biden new avenues on Trump environmental rollbacks Empire State Building lights on eve of Biden inauguration to honor COVID-19 victims READ: Harris letter resigning from Senate ahead of inauguration MORE met with mayors Monday amid the surge of cases.

Meanwhile, President TrumpDonald TrumpGiuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Fox News' DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retire MORE has downplayed the virus and has been absent from meetings of the White House coronavirus task force, while his allies have called on Americans to resist new guidelines.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany last week criticized new guidelines put in place by states like Oregon and New York as “Orwellian.”