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Coronavirus deaths could be reduced by 30% if Americans wore face masks

University of Washington’s health institute has a new forecast for the coronavirus death toll

SHARE Coronavirus deaths could be reduced by 30% if Americans wore face masks
Men wearing protective face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus chat in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020.

Men wearing protective face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus chat in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020.

Associated Press

Deaths related to the novel coronavirus might reach 410,000 in the United States by the end of 2020, the University of Washington’s health institute said in a recent forecast.

  • Deaths could jump to 3,000 per day in December as well, according to Reuters.
  • “These first-ever worldwide projections by country offer a daunting forecast as well as a roadmap toward relief from COVID-19 that government leaders as well as individuals can follow,” Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said in a statement. “We are facing the prospect of a deadly December, especially in Europe, Central Asia, and the United States. But the science is clear and the evidence irrefutable: mask-wearing, social distancing, and limits to social gatherings are vital to helping prevent transmission of the virus.”

Experts said death rates could drop by 30% if Americans wore masks, but mask-wearing has declined significantly, experts told Reuters.

  • “We expect the daily death rate in the United States, because of seasonality and declining vigilance of the public, to reach nearly 3,000 a day in December,” the institute said, according to Reuters.
  • “Cumulative deaths expected by January 1 are 410,000; this is 225,000 deaths from now until the end of the year,” the institute said.

That’s not the worst case

According to Bloomberg, the forecast suggests a worst-case scenario could lead to 620,029 deaths.

  • “The difference between the projected and worst-case scenarios comes down to how diligent authorities are in mandating masks and social distancing,” Bloomberg reported.
  • “People in the Northern Hemisphere must be especially vigilant as winter approaches, since the coronavirus, like pneumonia, will be more prevalent in cold climates,” Murray, IHME’s director, said in the report.