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Universal mask use could save 130,000 lives, experts say

A new report from scientists the medical journal Nature revealed about 130,000 lives could be saved.

A woman wears a face mask in Belfast city centre, Northern Ireland, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. Northern Ireland introducing the tightest COVID-19 restrictions in the United Kingdom on Wednesday, closing schools for two weeks and pubs and restaurants for a month.
A woman wears a face mask in Belfast city centre, Northern Ireland, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. Northern Ireland introduced the tightest COVID-19 restrictions in the United Kingdom on Wednesday, closing schools for two weeks and pubs and restaurants for a month.
Associated Press

Universal mask use could save close to 130,000 lives through the winter from the novel coronavirus, scientists said in recent findings.

What’s going on?

Scientists conducted simulations about what will happen during winter 2020 of the coronavirus pandemic.

One simulation result suggested that universal mask use could save 129,574 lives from Sept. 22 to February 2021.

A lesser adoption of masks — around 85% — could lead to 95,814 saved lives from the pandemic, the scientists said in a recent published report in Nature.

The U.S. has lost 226,000 lives since the beginning of the pandemic in March to October 2020. Universal mask use would save almost half of that number for the next few months.

Why it matters:

Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told The New York Times the report highlights what’s to come in the winter season if more preventative measures aren’t taken.

  • “We strongly believe we are heading into a pretty grim winter season.”
  • “Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates and all the economic effects of that, and save lives,” he said.