Coronavirus-related deaths among Americans are projected to surpass 113,000 by mid-June, a modeling average released Tuesday showed, underlining the US status as the nation worst affected by the pandemic.
The United States has recorded more than 1.5 million confirmed COVID-19 infections and 91,600 fatalities as of Tuesday, but a projection compiled from nine models from separate institutions predicted roughly 22,000 more Americans would succumb to the disease over the next 25 days.
"The new forecast for cumulative US deaths by June 13 is about 113,000, with a 10 percent chance of seeing fewer than about 107,000 and a 10 percent chance of seeing more than 121,000," the COVID-19 Forecast Hub at the University of Massachusetts said on its website.
The specific ensemble forecast average is 113,364 deaths by that date.
The latest projections come as most US states take steps - some minor, some more substantial - to re-open their shuttered economies and communities while facing the challenge of instilling confidence among Americans that it is safe to begin returning to normal.
The US government in April released guidelines on phased re-openings that included criteria which individual states were expected to meet before they began returning to normal, including a downward trajectory of new cases over a 14-day period.
Several states have been accused of re-opening despite failing to meet the specific criteria.
Hopes of curtailing the pandemic have proven elusive.
Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump said the US will lose "anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people."
On April 10 he predicted US virus deaths would be "substantially below the 100,000" figure, and perhaps even as low as half that.
The novel coronavirus has killed more than 322,000 people worldwide since it emerged in Wuhan, China late last year.