Nearly 180,000 Americans will die from coronavirus by October 1 unless just about everyone starts wearing masks, new projections show.
The latest coronavirus projection from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shows 179,106 deaths by October 1 if nothing changes.
But that number would drop to 146,000 if 95% of Americans started wearing masks in public, the model forecasts.
The previous IHME forecast, published June 15, projected 201,129 deaths by October 1. “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,” IHME Director Christopher Murray said in a statement Wednesday.
“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,” Murray said. “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.”
According to a June 12 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 74% of Americans nationwide said they wore masks often or always. That number approached 90% in New York and Los Angeles.
“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.”