If Everyone Did This, 30,000 Lives Would Be Saved From COVID-19

Social responsibility is a looming issue in the response to the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

It turns that if everyone wore a mask in public over the next few months, tens of thousands of lives would be saved. That's according to the medical and public health experts at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) who recently updated projected cases and deaths in the United States. Their recent projections reveal that if universal mask-wearing happens, over 30,000 lives will be saved by October 1 of this year. 

The projections come from website HealthData.org, which is operated by IHME, an independent health research center at UW Medicine, part of the University of Washington, and has become one of the most indispensable tracking resources for predicting cases and deaths from COVID-19. The site is used as a reference by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and virtually all reputable news outlets. Earlier this week, predictive features were added to the COVID-19 tracking tool that plot data points depending on how the country responds.

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In the most recent update, they lowered expected deaths by October 1 from over 200,000 to 179,000, though this was updated before the most recent surge in cases happening in a number of southern and western states. But the chart now presents two other projections: one that projects total deaths if reopening mandates are eased and one that projects the same if everyone wears face masks. As you can see in the screen capture below, they estimate over 180,000 total U.S. deaths if mandates are eased, but a far less 146,000 will succumb to the virus if everyone wears masks.


The projections presented are consistent with a number of other reports that show the efficacy of mask-wearing. A recent study out of Virginia Commonwealth University reveals compelling evidence that those countries that quickly enacted widespread mask use had far lower death rates than those that didn't. Also, a Philadelphia Inquirer study found that states that recommend their residents wear masks but do not require it have seen new coronavirus cases rise by 84 percent over the last two weeks. By contrast, in 11 states that mandate wearing masks in public, new cases have fallen by 25 percent over the last two weeks. And for more COVID-19 numbers to be wary of, check out This Is How Many More Americans the CDC Predicts Will Die by Mid-July.

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