Science

Around 1 million lives in US can be saved by wearing masks: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 24, 2020 Published on October 24, 2020

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Officals warn of a winter surge of Covid-19 cases and the death rate can only be brought down if 95% of people adhere to social distancing mandates

More than 1,00,000 lives could be saved if 95 per cent of Americans wore face masks in public spaces, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Medicine.

The study was carried by the Covid-19 forecasting team at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). It noted that, in September, only about 49 per cent of US residents stated that they wore a a mask while going out.

Scientists fear that if the 49 per cent trend continues till February 2021, the Covid-19 death toll across the US could reach about 1 million deaths by February 28.

The researchers noted that the death rate could only be brought down if 95 per cent of people adhere to social distancing mandates and wear a mask while venturing out in public.

For the study, the researchers examined data on Covid-19 cases and deaths in the US from February 1 - September 21. That analysis incorporated other factors, including pneumonia seasonality, testing rates, and mask use, for their study.

IHME’s Director, Chris Murray, said during a media conference: “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.”

“I think it’s very difficult at the point where we are in the US — where there’s so much community transmission of the virus — to prevent some fall-winter surge, but we can certainly make it much smaller,” he added.

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Published on October 24, 2020
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