If mask use increases from 53% to 95%, it could save almost 70,000 lives, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
“It really depends on what our leaders do,” Dr. Chris Murray, the head of the institute, said.
At least 175,409 Americans have died since the pandemic began, a number the institute projects could reach nearly 310,000 by December 1. The new prediction is about 15,000 deaths higher than their earlier forecast from two weeks ago due to several factors, Murray said.
“In some states, California is a good example, cases peaked, they’re coming down but deaths haven’t,” Murray told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Friday night. “They’re sort of staying pretty steady.”
And there is still increased transmission in states like Kentucky, Minnesota and Indiana, he said.
“There’s more happening around Covid than we sort of expected for this time of the year and that’s playing out into these forecasts,” Murray added.
Preventing another wave
“We don’t need to have a third wave in the heartland right now,” Redfield said Thursday. “We need to prevent that.”
On Friday, the top health official for Seattle and King County in Washington state warned the state was seeing an increased number of cases linked back to social gatherings.
“We expect Covid-19 to get worse in the fall and winter and people to spend more time indoors,” health officer Dr. Jeffrey Duchin said.
To help prevent widespread infections, Murray said governors need to put mask mandates in place — mandates “with teeth,” that would allow local authorities to fine residents without a face covering.
“It will take a concerted effort but the impact is extraordinary, it’s really quite extraordinary what it could achieve,” Murray said.
6-year-old is Florida’s youngest Covid-19 victim
Florida has reported more than 593,000 infections since the start of the pandemic, second only to California, which has recorded 660,000 positive results.
News about the young girl also come as schools across the US have begun reopening. Some have adjusted plans after hundreds of students and staff were asked to quarantine in response to coronavirus cases.
More than two dozen cases linked to motorcycle rally
Minnesota reported 15 cases of the virus among people who attended the rally in South Dakota earlier this month, Kris Ehresmann, the Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Disease Director, said Friday.
Among those cases, one person was hospitalized. Officials say they expect more cases over the next few days.
In Nebraska’s Panhandle region, at least seven cases were tied to the rally according to Kim Engel, the director of the Panhandle Public Health District told CNN.
CNN’s Kay Jones, Melissa Alonso, Jennifer Henderson, Jamiel Lynch, Janine Mack and Andy Rose contributed to this report.