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Why mass incarceration could to lead to 100K more COVID-19 deaths

(Photo credit: Shutterstock.com / Joseph Sohm)

The American Civil Liberties Union released a new study that suggests the United States government is underestimating the lives that will be lost due to COVID-19.

On April 22, the ACLU revealed the results of a study that projects that prison deaths could be a key factor in the increase in fatalities caused by the novel virus.

The ACLU teamed up with researchers from the University of Tennessee, Washington State University and the University of Pennsylvania and created a model based on data from populations of more than 100. The results revealed that the number of deaths from the contagion is 100,000 more than what the White House Coronavirus Task Force models are projecting.

On April 9, the White House Cornonavirus Task Force estimated a death toll of 100,000 to 200,000 if strong mitigating steps are taken, such as home quarantine, social distancing,  and frequent hand-washing. However, the commander in chief has given governors the option on how they will enact plans for their respective states.

The ACLU claims the government’s model failed to count those who are arrested, held in jails, and then released back into the communities which could fuel the spread of COVID-19.

”We are likely facing a massive loss of life, both in jails and in communities around the country, if dramatic steps aren’t taken to reduce the incarcerated population in this country,” the ACLU said in a statement.

Prisons can become a hotbed for infections.

At least 1,324 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have occurred in prisons across the nation with 32 deaths, according to the New York Times.