Story at a glance

  • The number of deaths, however, could be slashed to 162,808 deaths if 95 percent of people wore masks in public, according to the model.
  • Significant increases in deaths are projected in September and October.
  • On Wednesday, the U.S. topped 3 million infections since the outbreak began with more than 131,000 deaths.

The coronavirus death toll in the U.S. could exceed more than 208,000 by the beginning of November, but that number could be reduced by 45,000 if the vast majority of people wear masks in public, according to a widely cited COVID-19 model. 

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) on Tuesday projected 208,255 COVID-19 deaths by Nov. 1 as cases continue to surge in several states across the country. 

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On Wednesday, the U.S. topped 3 million infections since the outbreak began with more than 131,000 deaths. 

The number of deaths, however, could be slashed to 162,808 if 95 percent of people wore masks in public, according to the model. 

“We can now see the projected trajectory of the epidemic into the fall, and many states are expected to experience significant increases in cases and deaths in September and October,” Christopher Murray, the institute’s director, said in a statement

“However, as we all have come to recognize, wearing masks can substantially reduce transmission of the virus. Mask mandates delay the need for re-imposing closures of businesses and have huge economic benefits. Moreover, those who refuse masks are putting their lives, their families, their friends, and their communities at risk,” Murray said. 

The projection assumes the reimposition of strong social distancing mandates if deaths per day reach a level of eight per 1 million people, comparing that with a forecast if no action is taken, and a forecast if social distancing mandates are combined with at least 95 percent mask wearing in public. 

Only a handful of states have put in place a mask mandate as coronavirus cases continue to climb in the U.S., but a Gallup poll released Monday found a record number of Americans say they are wearing face coverings. 

The poll conducted June 22 through June 28 found 86 percent of U.S. adults said they had worn a mask in public in the past week. 

 

Published on Jul 08, 2020