Another 60,000 Americans are estimated to die from coronavirus in the next three months but widespread mask wearing could reduce predicted deaths by nearly 33,000, according to leading forecast model.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has updated its COVID-19 model to include death toll projections based on people wearing masks.
Previously, the model – often cited by the White House – only gave broad projections for the number of coronavirus fatalities.
According to its latest predictions, an estimated 179,106 deaths are likely to occur across the United States by October 1.
Those numbers will drop to 146,047 if at least 95 percent of people wear masks in public, the model shows.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has updated its COVID-19 model to include death toll projections based on people wearing masks. According to its latest predictions, an estimated 179,106 deaths are likely to occur across the United States by October 1
According to its latest predictions, an estimated 179,106 deaths are likely to occur across the United States by October 1. Those numbers will drop to 146,047 if at least 95 percent of people wear masks in public, the model shows
‘There is no doubt that even as states open up, the United States is still grappling with a large epidemic on a course to increase beginning in late August and intensifying in September,’ said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray.
‘People need to know that wearing masks can reduce transmission of the virus by as much as 50 percent, and those who refuse are putting their lives, their families, their friends, and their communities at risk.’
Infections across the US have been surging for more than a week after trending down for over six weeks.
Currently, the US has recorded more than 2.3 million coronavirus cases and more than 122,000 Americans have died from the virus.
The new forecast is lower than the forecast of 201,129 deaths released on June 15.
California and other states have seen over the past several weeks increasing case numbers, but deaths are not yet rising at the same rate – a trend which could change in the coming weeks
Researchers from the institute say the next two weeks will show whether a surge in deaths will result from the current uptick in cases.
New cases and hospitalizations have been spiking to record levels in states like Arizona, Texas, California and Florida.
Currently, the US has recorded more than 2.3 million coronavirus cases and more than 121,000 Americans have died from the virus
‘States reporting the ages of confirmed cases suggest there are more cases being detected in younger people who are at substantially lower risk of death than older people,’ Murray said.
‘It remains to be seen how this will unfold over the next few weeks, and if transmission continues to go up, we may see increasing infections in at-risk populations.’
The current coronavirus surge has sent infections to dire new levels across the South and West with hospital administrators and health experts warning on Wednesday that politicians and a tired-of-being-cooped-up public are letting a disaster unfold.
While newly confirmed infections have been declining steadily in early hot spots like New York and New Jersey, several other states set single-day records this week, including Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas and Oklahoma.
Some of them also broke hospitalization records, as did North Carolina and South Carolina.
Dr Peter Hotez, an infectious-disease expert at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, said he worries that states will squander what time they have to head off a much larger crisis.
‘We’re still talking about subtlety, still arguing whether or not we should wear masks, and still not understanding that a vaccine is not going to rescue us,’ he said.
More than a dozen US states and some major cities have mandatory face-covering rules when out in public.
California Governor Gavin Newsom last week told residents to wear masks at nearly all times outside the home.
CALIFORNIA: In California, cases have surged nearly 70 percent in just two days. The state reported over 7,100 new cases on Wednesday, up from 4,230 on Sunday
CALIFORNIA HOSPITALS: Hospitalizations have also reached record highs across the state in the past week
TEXAS CASES: Rapidly worsening coronavirus numbers in Texas continue to reach bleak new milestones with the state recording more than 5,550 new cases in a single day
TEXAS HOSPITAL: In Texas, which began lifting its shutdowns on May 1, hospitalizations have doubled and new cases have tripled in two weeks
TEXAS DEATHS: The state recorded an additional 29 deaths on Wednesday compared to the record 58 on May 15
Newsom has said he will withhold pandemic-related funding from local governments that brush off state requirements on masks and other anti-virus measures in response to the soaring numbers.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday ordered residents to wear face masks in public and Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak said residents will have to wear masks or face coverings out in public beginning Friday.
A handful of states, including hard-hit New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, have mandated face masks since April.
It comes as health officials warn coronavirus cases are climbing rapidly among young adults in a number of states where bars, stores and restaurants have reopened – a disturbing generational shift that not only puts them in greater peril than many realize but poses an even bigger danger to older people who cross their paths.
In states like Florida, Texas and Arizona, young people have started going out again, many without masks, in what health experts see as irresponsible behavior.
‘The virus hasn’t changed. We have changed our behaviors,’ said Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. ‘Younger people are more likely to be out and taking a risk.’
Health experts say the fact that younger people – who are less likely to be hospitalized – are now accounting for a large number of the new cases could have have an impact on the death toll in several weeks.
They point to the fact that young people could currently be infecting their elderly relatives and other at-risk people, which could drive up hospitalizations and deaths.
FLORIDA: Florida recorded a record high 5,508 new cases (left) on Wednesday, up from the previous record of 4,049 on June 20. Forty four new deaths (right)were recorded across the state on Wednesday
ARIZONA CASES: Arizona reported 1,795 new cases on Tuesday, down from the record 3,591 new infections a day earlier
ARIZONA HOSPITALS: The number of people admitted to Arizona hospitals with COVID-19 or suspected of having coronavirus on Tuesday was at 2,200
ARIZONA DEATHS: Arizona recorded 79 new deaths on Tuesday – compared to the 67 deaths recorded on May 8