Coronavirus deaths predicted to hit 300,000 in US by December

Researchers say these deaths can be prevented if the public continues to wear masks

Maryann Coleman mourns the death of her son Conrad Coleman Jr. at his burial on July 03, 2020 in Rye, New York. Conrad Coleman Jr, 39, died of Covid-19 on June 20, 2020, just over two months after his father Conrad Coleman Sr. also died of the disease. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The coronavirus death toll is expected to hit 300,000 by the end of the year in the U.S. according to researchers, but that can be prevented if Americans wear masks.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has a model that been predicting deaths due to the virus and issued a dire warning this week, CNN reports. The model relies on analysis from 24 institutions and researchers.

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A health care worker works at a COVID-19 testing site sponsored by Community Heath of South Florida at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Clinica Campesina Health Center, during the coronavirus pandemic, Monday, July 6, 2020, in Homestead, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

John Hopkins University has put the current tally at 159,990 deaths due to COVID-19. The model predicts a significant rise.

“The US forecast totals 295,011 deaths by December,” the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said in a statement.

Dr. Christopher Murray, IHME Director, allowed that the model did not have to become a reality. He cautioned the public to continue practicing preventative measures.

“The public’s behavior had a direct correlation to the transmission of the virus and, in turn, the numbers of deaths,” Murray said.

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Nurses process a sample for COVID-19 after a patient was screened at an appointment-only, drive-up clinic.(Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

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IHME forecasts that the death toll would drop to 228,271 deaths if 95% of Americans wore masks. This could potentially lead to 60,000 lives being saved.

“You get this really huge effect that accumulates over time,” Murray told Anderson Cooper, “because every individual that is wearing the mask is putting the brakes on transmission by 40%. That starts to add up.”

The release of the model’s prediction occurred on the same day as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issuing their own projection: 181,031 deaths by the end of the month.

An increase was expected in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico, the Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, and the Virgin Islands were expected to trend down in fatalities.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told New Day on Thursday that following coronavirus protocol was helping to curb the virus. He continued to plead for mask-wearing, social distancing and the washing of hands.

Fauci believed that these measures could turn the tide of the surging virus by November.

“I really do believe, based on the data we see in other countries, and in the United States, in states and cities and counties that have done it correctly, that if we pay attention to the fundamental tenets of infection control and diminution of transmission, we can be way down in November,” Fauci said.

“Everybody on the team of American citizens needs to pull together. … It’s up to us,” he said.

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