More than 130,000 US lives could be saved by March if most Americans wore masks, said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, in a blog post on Tuesday.
“If most Americans pulled together to do the right thing and wore a mask in public, this simple, selfless act would save more than 130,000 lives in the next few months alone,” Collins wrote.
Collins said only about half of Americans wear a mask in public, citing a study by the team responsible for the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation coronavirus model. The team predicts that Covid-19 deaths could surpass 1 million in the US by the end of February on this trajectory.
He noted that an increase in mask use would also help the economy, by preventing the need for another lockdown.
“Think about it in the same way you think about putting on your seat belt -- a minor inconvenience that can save lives,” Collins wrote.