COVID Model Has a Frightening Projection

It sees 410K deaths in US by Jan. 1, even more if we move more toward herd immunity
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2020 11:35 AM CDT
Model Says 410K US COVID Deaths Likely by January
In this June 14, 2020, file photo, medical workers attend to a COVID-19 patient in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen.   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)

The US has counted more than 186,000 coronavirus-related deaths. By the end of the year, it might count 224,000 more, according to an updated model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, reports the Washington Post. The 410,451 deaths by Jan. 1 are expected under the most likely scenario offered by the model, which assumes current restrictions remain the same. Under a worst-case scenario, in which mask usage stays at current rates but social distancing requirements continue to be relaxed in favor of herd immunity, US deaths could top 620,000, per USA Today and CNN. An additional 100,000 deaths over the next four months, for a total of 288,381, is seen as the best-case scenario, requiring near-universal mask use, per the Hill.

The most likely scenario predicts 2.8 million global deaths by the end of the year. Almost 770,000 lives worldwide could be saved with near-universal mask use and the continuation of social distancing measures, according to the model. But 4 million deaths could come under the worst-case scenario. About 910,000 coronavirus-related deaths have now been reported around the world. The Hill notes the IHME model—used by the White House coronavirus team for its early pandemic guidelines—is more aggressive than some other models in its projections. Critics say it makes forecasts too far into the future. Still, IHME Director Christopher Murray warns that "we are facing the prospect of a deadly December" as colder weather forces people indoors. Under the worst-case scenario, daily deaths in December could hit 3,000 in the US or 30,000 globally. (More coronavirus stories.)

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