A closely watched model that predicts Covid-19 deaths is now forecasting 224,000 deaths in the United States by November 1 this year.
The model, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, had projected almost 16,000 fewer deaths in a forecast made last week -- but the surge in cases nationwide have caused the projection to jump.
“That increase in our forecasts is being driven by the big upsurge in you know the ones we know about in Florida, Texas, Arizona, California,” said the chair of IHME, Dr. Chris Murray.
“There's a longer list of states where deaths are going up, as well as hospitalizations. So, that includes Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah. So those are our lists that are driving up forecasts, as we look ahead."
The US coronavirus death toll stands at 136,466.
Face masks could lower this projection: The projection could continue to change depending on the implementation of nationwide restrictions, reopenings, and preventative factors like the use of face masks.
The more people wear masks, the fewer deaths will likely be projected, He said -- at the individual level, masks can reduce transmission of the virus by a third.
“At the population level, it can save more than 40,000 lives in the US between now and November 1. And as a strategy, that may be our best strategy right now in the US, to have a mask mandate," he said.