(CNN) — Researchers behind an influential model project that the death toll in the United States from coronavirus could reach nearly 300,000 by December 1, but that can be changed if Americans regularly wear face masks.
According to Johns Hopkins University, 159,990 people have died in the United States since the pandemic began.
“The forecast for the United States totals 295,011 deaths for December,” says a statement from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME, for its acronym in English).
The model does not have to be realized, said IHME director Dr. Christopher Murray: “People’s behavior has a direct correlation with the transmission of the virus and, in turn, with the number of deaths.”
The statement indicates that if 95% of people in the US wear facial covering, the number would decrease to 228,271 deaths and more than 66,000 lives could be saved.
Murray told CNN that his group looks at studies on the effects of wearing masks and the best estimate is that they can reduce the spread by 40%.
“You get this really huge effect that builds up over time,” he told Anderson Cooper, “because every individual who wears a mask is slowing down transmission by 40%. That starts to add up.
The model arrived on the same day that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a joint forecast that projects 181,031 deaths by Aug. 29.
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“Joint statewide forecasts predict that the number of new deaths reported for the week may increase over the next four weeks in Hawaii and Puerto Rico and may decrease in Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico, the Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Texas, Vermont and the Virgin Islands, “says the CDC on its forecasting website.
The forecast is based on 24 individual forecasts from external institutions and researchers.
Fauci: We can lower the case levels by Election Day
The United States has what it takes to bring COVID-19 case levels down to more manageable levels by Election Day if people wear masks and other “fundamental infection control principles,” but now things must get serious, he said. Dr. Anthony Fauci to CNN on Thursday.
“We can be very down in November … if we do things right and start now,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on “New Day.”
Fauci’s roadmap is the same one that he has been preaching, including wearing masks in public, social distancing and hand washing.
And it points to hopeful signs that this is working. Arizona, which had a significant outbreak this summer, “started to take drastic action and get it right,” he said.
Arizona went from averaging nearly 4,000 cases per day in early July to fewer than 2,000 new cases per day now, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
“I really believe, based on the data that 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 principles of infection control and reduction of transmission, We can lower the numbers for November, ”Fauci said.
“Everyone on the American Citizens team needs to come together … It’s up to us,” he said.
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Fauci: Positive test increases are ‘indicators of trouble’
With 4.8 million cases in the US alone, Fauci produced a warning echoed by a member of the White House coronavirus task force.
On Wednesday, the task force coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, warned state and local officials in a phone call about an increase in the rate of positive tests in several cities, including Chicago, Boston, Detroit and Washington.
She said Baltimore, Atlanta, Kansas City, Portland, Omaha and California’s Central Valley “remain at a very high level.”
Positive test rates can give an early indication that an increase in the daily case count will occur if nothing is done, Fauci said Thursday.
“So what Dr. Birx is saying is that now is the time to accelerate the fundamental preventive measures that we all talk about: masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds, outside rather than inside, wash hands, etc.,” she said Fauci.
“Those kinds of simple things can actually prevent that increase from turning into a sudden increase. So she was warning states and cities to be careful, because this is an indicator of future problems.
At least 39 states, as well as Washington and Puerto Rico, have established some sort of order requiring the use of masks, and vaccine development is moving forward with the hope that they can reach the people in 2021, Fauci has said. Still, the nation still lacks the coherent response to the virus that it would like to see.
The United States went from averaging about 20,000 new cases per day in late May to more than 60,000 new cases per day in July. The daily average is below 60,000 now.
Fauci said the United States did not lower daily case rates enough in the spring, but also believes the country can lower them “to a level of hundreds of cases, and maybe 1,000 or 2,000” with the preventive measures it is prescribing.
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Leaders take more action
In Pennsylvania, state officials recommended suspending high school fall sports until after January 1.
“The administration is concerned that taking school sports before January 2021 will present significant health risks to participants and the public, and strongly recommends against holding such events,” said Governor’s office guide Tom Wolf.
Local officials can make the decision to postpone, the governor’s office said.
In Utah, Governor Gary Herbert announced that he will allow local governments to implement their own mask mandates as long as they notify the state health department.
Herbert said his decision was based on his belief that local government is best equipped to determine the needs of its community.
“Why? I come from the local government and I think that is where the theory is put to the test. One-size-fits-all approaches are often ineffective, ”Herbert said in a tweet.
The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, signed a decree that extends the declaration of a state of emergency due to covid-19 for the city for an additional 30 days. The order was first signed in March and most recently extended on July 7.
Shelby Lin Erdman, Gisela Crespo, Elizabeth Stuart, Rebekah Riess, Amanda Watts, Rashard Rose, Jennifer Henderson, Sarah Moon y Holly Yan contribuyeron a este informe.