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IHME releases new projections for COVID-19 death toll by February

(Marijan Murat/dpa via AP)

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) released new projections, which updates the possible COVID-19 death toll in the United States through Feb. 1, 2021.

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By Feb. 1, the IHME projects total deaths will be 394,693 — an increase of over 181,000 — if behaviors and policies remain the same. If mandates ease, the number increases to over 502,000. If masks are universally adopted, which would mean about 95% of people consistently wearing masks, the IHME predicts about 315,800 deaths. That’s an increase of nearly 103,000 deaths.

In other words, universal mask adoption could result in saving nearly 79,000 lives.

Currently, the United States reports nearly 700 deaths every day. The IHME projects if the country starts to ease mandates, the daily death toll could increase to 5,818 by Feb. 1. Still, if conditions remain the same, the IHME projects 2,232 deaths every day by Feb. 1. Even with universal mask adoption, IHME projects 1,402 daily deaths.

In Washington state, the Department of Health has reported 2,190 deaths since the start of the outbreak.

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