Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday social distancing had proven effective and the predicted death toll from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) dropped to 60,000, instead of the previously projected 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.

“The real data are telling us that it is highly likely that we’re having a definite positive effect by this mitigation things that we’re doing – this physical separation – so I believe we are gonna see a downturn in that,” Fauci told NBC’s Today show. “And it looks more like the 60,000 than the 100,000 to 200,000.”

Although he did not cite which model he used to base that conclusion, the same week a leading model from the University of Washington lowered its death predictions significantly due to social distancing working at curbing the virus.

The model originally projected a near 100,000 deaths by Aug. 4, but dropped that estimate to 60,415.

“A key CoronaVirus Model is now predicting far fewer deaths than the number shown in earlier models,” President Donald Trump said Thursday on Twitter. “That’s because the American people are doing a great job. Social Distancing etc. Keep going!”

The model predicts 45 states and the District of Columbia will have fewer deaths than initially expected, but showed increases in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Dakota and Rhode Island.

New Jersey is projected to have 5,277 deaths from coronavirus, up from the 2,117 previously estimated. Massachusetts is projected to have 5,625 total deaths by Aug. 4, nearly four times the original projection of 1,506. Connecticut is likely to see 4,003 deaths, an increase of over 3,500.

As of Saturday, the U.S. has reported more than 500,000 cases and over 18,000 death, the majority of which are concentrated in New York, New Jersey and Michigan.

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