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Coronavirus: Model projects that 33,000 US lives would be saved by wearing masks

Coronavirus: Model projects that 33,000 US lives would be saved by wearing masks
Posted at 3:31 PM, Jun 24, 2020

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation now projects that 33,000 American lives would be saved between now and October 1 by near universal wearing of masks.

The IHME released the updated model on Wednesday.

The IHME’s coronavirus projections have been frequently cited in the past by the White House’s coronavirus task force. The group uses state data along with other metrics to create projections on the number of coronavirus-related deaths throughout the US.

The projection state that the US is currently on track to have an additional 58,000 coronavirus-related deaths between now and October 1. But that number drops to just 23,000 if masks are universally worn in public. Those figures are on top of the over 121,000 reported coronavirus-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

The IHME’s model projects that the US death toll will stay consistent on a per-day basis between now and September, before starting to increase in the fall. But the model projects that fewer than 100 Americans will die per day from coronavirus by September if masks are worn.

The IHME’s latest model projects that coronavirus-related deaths will continue to surge in the states of Texas, Arizona and Florida in the coming weeks, while leveling or dropping off in many other states.

To see a state-by-state breakdown of the IHME’s projections, click here.

Last month, a study in the Lancet found that the use of masks and respirators by those infected with the virus reduced the risk of spreading the infection by 85%. The authors analyzed data that showed that N95 respirators in healthcare settings were up to 96% effective. Other masks were found to be 77% effective.