The University of Washington has extended its projection of how many people are likely to die from coronavirus in the US to November 1, predicting at least 208,255 deaths by then, based on the current scenario.
But if 95% of the population wears a mask in public, that number would drop to approximately 162,808, the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) said Tuesday.
Last week, the IHME forecasted about 175,168 total deaths by October 1, based on the current scenario. But if almost everyone wears a face mask, that number would fall to just over 150,000.
How the modeling works: The current model includes forecasts that anticipate the re-imposition of strong social distancing mandates when deaths per day reach a level of eight per one million people, combined with widespread mask adoption, versus an approach that takes no preventive action. For instance, strong social distancing measures in Florida could cut 6,173 deaths there by October 1.
The model continues to predict a serious uptick in deaths and cases starting in mid- to late September and October. The projections could change if there is another surge in infections among at-risk populations. Currently, states report they are detecting an increasing number of cases in younger people, who have a lower risk of death, IHME said.
Some context: So far, according to Johns Hopkins University, more than 2.96 million Americans have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections and at least 130,902 have died.