New estimates show that unless everyone starts wearing masks, as many as 180,000 Americans will die from coronavirus by October 1.
The latest coronavirus projection from the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shows 179,106 deaths as of October 1.
The model estimates that if 95% of Americans start wearing masks in public, that number will fall to 146,000.
The previous IHME forecast, published on June 15, estimates 201,129 deaths as of October 1. In the coming weeks, ”IHME Director Christopher Murray said in a statement Wednesday.
“Although the states are open, there is no doubt that the United States is still suffering from a major epidemic that begins in late August and intensifies in September,” Murray said. “People need to know that wearing masks reduces the spread of the virus by up to 50%, and those who refuse are endangering their lives, their families, their friends and their communities.”
According to a June 12 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 74% of Americans nationwide say they wear masks frequently or always. That number has reached 90% in New York and Los Angeles.
“States that report age of confirmed cases are indicating that more cases are found in young adults with significantly lower risk of death than older people,” Murray said. “We need to see how this unfolds over the next few weeks, and if transmission continues to increase, we may see an increase in infections in the population at risk.”