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Influential COVID-19 model projects 410,000 total deaths in US by Jan 1

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-09-05 11:28
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Chart currently posted on the website of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) show that over 410,000 Americans may die from the novel coronavirus by Jan 1, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

WASHINGTON - The updated projection of a key COVID-19 model shows that 410,000 Americans may die from the novel coronavirus by Jan 1 next year.

According to the new forecast released late Thursday from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, the daily death rate in the United States, because of seasonality and declining vigilance of the public, would reach nearly 3,000 a day in December.

"Cumulative deaths expected by January 1 are 410,000; this is 225,000 deaths from now until the end of the year," said the prediction.

People wearing face masks walk through the Green-Wood Cemetery in the Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, April 19, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

If a herd immunity strategy is pursued, namely no further government intervention is taken from now to Jan 1, the death toll could increase to 620,000 by Jan 1, according to the projection.

Increasing mask use to the levels seen in Singapore would decrease the cumulative death toll to 288,000, or 122,000 lives saved compared to the reference scenario, according to the prediction. This would be a 30 percent reduction in the deaths expected from now until the end of the year.

However, mask use continues to decline from a peak in early August, said the projection. Declines are notable throughout the Midwest, including some states such as Illinois and Iowa with increasing case numbers.

People jog on the National Mall in Washington, DC, the United States, Aug 26, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Months into the pandemic, the United States has recorded more than 6.18 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 187,300 deaths by Friday afternoon, according to a tally of Johns Hopkins University.

The number of reported cases peaked around 70,000 cases per day at the end of July, and has subsequently declined to about 45,000 cases per day.

According to the IHME, the country is seeing increasing transmission in ten states, namely Idaho, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, Virginia, West Virginia, Illinois and Iowa.

The decline of cases in more populous states such as Texas, Florida and California has contributed to the national decline in cases, said the IHME.

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