There’s concern about an explosion in coronavirus cases in the next few months as fall and winter set in, Dr. Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told CNN Friday.
The IHME model released new numbers Thursday that projected 371,509 deaths by Jan. 1 — a dip of 7,000 from the model’s projection last week. However, that’s 168,000 more deaths than the current US total of more than 203,000. The decrease in the projection from last week is attributed to an uptick in mask use in some states.
There are two things driving the expected winter surge, Murray told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“First, as case counts have come down in some states, we tend to see that people become less careful, they tend to have more contact,” he said.
“But then the most important effect is the seasonality of the virus, that people go indoors, transmission happens more.”
“That seasonality is going to be driving the big winter surge that we expect to see,” Murray predicted.
“That's why our model shows the huge surge that we really expect to take off in October and accelerate in November in December.”
“There's a real risk that winter surge has already started in Europe, you know cases are exploding there. So we know it's coming and we expect it to hit the US pretty soon.
The IHME model also projected that if 95% of Americans wore masks in public, 100,000 lives could be saved by Jan. 1.