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Half a million deaths by the end of February? Current COVID-19 strategies have the US headed in that direction, experts say

Added 10-25-20 05:04:03pm EST - “Researchers from the University of Washington also found that wearing masks in public to prevent coronavirus spread could save nearly 130,000 lives.” - News.yahoo.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From News.yahoo.com: “Half a million deaths by the end of February? Current COVID-19 strategies have the US headed in that direction, experts say”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

The nation's patchwork of COVID-19 mandates and the inconsistent use of masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus could lead to the cumulative loss of more than half a million lives by the end of February, scientists say.

Researchers from the University of Washington's School of Medicine predicted that current state strategies surrounding social distancing, phased reopenings and mask mandates could lead to 511,373 deaths by Feb. 28, according to a study published Friday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Medicine.

But scientists also predicted nearly 130,000 lives could be saved from the end of September through the end of February if at least 95% of the population wore masks in public. If only 85% wore masks, nearly 96,000 deaths could be prevented, they said.

"We are heading into a very substantial fall-winter surge," said Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington's School of Medicine. "We expect that surge to steadily grow throughout different states, and at the national level continue to increase as we head toward quite high levels of daily death in late December and January."

The report comes as the U.S. surpassed 83,000 new cases two days in a row this weekend, the highest daily totals on record. The nation had nearly 8.6 million cases as of Sunday and hit 225,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

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