Reopening the nation’s economy before June could save 18 million jobs, but also result in over 200,000 additional COVID-19 deaths, the Penn Wharton Budget Model found Friday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, current models already project over 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus amid a struggling economy, with more than 30 million jobs lost over the last six weeks, according to Forbes.
The Penn Wharton model projects if states keep lockdowns in place through June, about 18.6 million more jobs would be lost, and the U.S. Gross Domestic Product would fall to almost 12% lower than it was in June 2019.
The model projected the national death toll will near 117,000 - there are currently 64,203 deaths - if lockdown orders are extended through June.
Under a scenario in which states begin partial reopening by lifting stay-at-home orders, school closures and emergency declarations, the deaths would climb by 45,000, to a 162,000 total.
A partial reopen would save about 4.4 million jobs out of 14 million more projected to be lost in the next two months, and GDP would fall by 10.7% compared to a year earlier, the model projects.
Then there's a fully reopened by June 30 scenario.
Under that vision, with an immediate lift of all lockdown orders and business closures, 233,000 more deaths from the coronavirus could be expected, the model projected. And GDP on June 30 would increase by around 1.5% relative to not reopening, with almost all job losses since May 1 getting regained.
If a full reopening results in Americans relaxing their social distancing measures, then cumulative national deaths will reach a catastrophic 950,000 by the end of June, the report estimated. Under those same circumstances, 4.1 million jobs would be regained from losses between March and April.
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