200,000 dead by Election Day (Reports).

As the United States surpasses 3 million coronavirus infections, forecasters are updating their models to account for the recent resurgence and reaching a grim consensus: the next few months are going to be bad.

The national death toll is now expected eclipse 200,000 by Election Day, according to the latest models.

It’s a clear signal that, six months into the worst public health crisis in a century, the coronavirus pandemic remains as disruptive as ever. The disease has tested American leaders’ patience and political will, and outlasted efforts to contain it — swamping any hopes of a summer lull and leaving the nation’s top public health experts resigned to several more months of crushing outbreaks.

“I am despairing for the future,” said David Eisenman, the director of the UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters. “I don’t see anything happening to indicate that [the future] will be much better.”

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It took just four weeks for the U.S. to jump from 2 million coronavirus infections to the 3 million mark. Most forecasters now say that, as case counts accelerate at a record pace, it will likely take even less time to surpass 4 million.

The dubious milestone comes a week after President Donald Trump again said coronavirus would just disappear and on the day that he threatened to cut federal funding to states that don’t fully reopen schools in a matter of weeks.

During Wednesday’s briefing with the White House coronavirus task force, Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged the severe spikes across the South and West but nevertheless offered an optimistic view of the weeks to come.

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“We are encouraged that the average fatality rate continues to be low and steady,” he said, adding that he saw evidence that the resurgence is beginning to crest. “We believe the takeaway from this for every American, particularly in those states that are impacted, is keep doing what you’re doing.”

While the mortality rate has decreased since April as testing has improved and older Americans are more likely to remain cautious, Pence’s outlook runs counter to the growing ranks of health researchers and scientists who have charted the pandemic’s progression across the U.S. for months, and concluded that the nation’s attempts to rein in the virus have fallen well short of what was needed to secure any significant and lasting progress.

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Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, on Tuesday predicted more than 208,000 people could be dead from the virus by November. The IHME model, favored by the White House, has generally offered rosier forecasts than most, but Murray now is factoring in a greater reluctance to impose new restrictions and increased transmissions from having schools and universities reopen in the fall.

“Many states are expected to experience significant increases in cases and deaths in September and October,” he said of his modeling.

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