Please Live Longer –
Oct. 23, 2020 – “The fall/winter surge will intensify in November and December, reaching a peak in January. Many states will face enormous pressure on hospital capacity and will likely have to re-impose some social distancing mandates. The best strategy to delay re-imposition of mandates and the associated economic hardship is to expand mask use.” … Yet under the assumption that states shut down when their daily death rate exceeds 8 deaths per 1 million people in the population but mask-wearing doesn’t change, the study’s model projections forecast the death toll could reach 511,373 deaths by February 28.
The scenario that 95% of people in each state wear masks — in addition to states reinstating social distancing mandates if their daily death rates exceed 8 deaths per 1 million people — resulted in the lowest death toll projection, with 381,798 deaths by February 28, according to the study.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data on Covid-19 cases and deaths in the United States from February 1 through September 21. That analysis — along with other factors, such as pneumonia seasonality, testing rates and mask use — helped inform model projections for the course of the pandemic through February 28.
The study had some limitations, including that the findings are only forecast projections from models and not definitive about what the future holds — and mask wearing tends to fluctuate, so the 49% figure used in the study appears to now be outdated.
IHME Director Dr. Chris Murray also emphasized during a virtual press briefing on Friday that the institute’s weekly modeling projections provide more updated data than what is provided in the study. However, the study still helps offer insight into how mask-wearing can make a difference.
“We think the key point here is that there’s a huge winter surge coming and our models have been showing that for many months,” Murray said on Friday.