Alarming New Research Predicts This Many COVID Deaths by Year's End
One reputable research team just released some grim new projections for the rest of 2020.
While some U.S. states are getting a better handle on the spread of COVID-19, many leading health experts are warning that it is way too early to celebrate the country's "turning a corner." To date, more than 186,000 Americans have lost their lives to the virus, according to The New York Times. But one reliable research team just updated their projections, and they say the death toll could get worse. Much worse.
The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model predicts that the U.S. will most likely see more 410,000 deaths by Jan. 1st, 2021, which means we could potentially see more deaths from the coronavirus in the next four months than we saw in the last seven months combined.
IHME's projections have been something of the gold standard in both public health and medical circles. They have been referenced by the White House Coronavirus Task Force and several reputable news outlets, as well. The updated projections mean that roughly 225,000 American citizens will succumb to the coronavirus for the next four months.
IHME also makes clear in their ominous forecast the difference mitigation efforts—like universal mask-wearing—can make in a potential death toll. If current mitigation efforts or eased, the researchers project the national death toll to grow to more than 600,000 deaths. Conversely, if nearly everyone wears masks, there will be far fewer fatalities. In that scenario, the IHME projects roughly 288,000 COVID-related deaths by the end of the year.
IHME also offered its first global projection of the COVID-19 pandemic by nation and predicted nearly 770,000 lives worldwide could be saved between now and Jan. 1st through proven measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing. Cumulative deaths expected by Jan. 1st total 2.8 million—about 1.9 million more from now until the end of the year. Daily deaths in December could reach as high as 30,000, according to a statement.
"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," said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray, MD. "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."
Public health experts have warned how the coming colder months present a danger to see another surge in cases as many will spend more time indoors, and flu season will soon be upon us as well. "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 said. And for more on the benefits on masks, check out The One Situation You're Not Wearing Your Mask, But You Should Be.