More than 410,000 Americans could die from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, by January 1, 2021, according to the latest model by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
The United States reported more than 188,500 deaths as of Saturday and more than 6,200,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. If the IHME model, released Friday, is correct, that would mean an estimated 222,000 more deaths over the next 3½ months.
“We expect the daily death rate in the United States, because of seasonality and declining vigilance of the public, to reach nearly 3,000 a day in December,” the institute, which bills itself as an independent research center, said in an update of its periodic forecasts.
It previously projected 317,697 deaths by December 1.
However, the researchers at IHME said, if the use of face masks became nearly universal, the predicted 222,000 deaths could be reduced by half. Conversely, if restrictions are eased, the toll could be much higher by New Year’s.
“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,” it said.
"If a herd immunity strategy is pursued, meaning no further government intervention is taken from now to Jan. 1st, the death toll could increase to 620,000," according to IHME's briefing.
The IHME model is one of the more aggressive of the 35 models used to forecast COVID-19 deaths. The ensemble forecast by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which came out Thursday, predicted 211,000 U.S. deaths from COVID-19 by September 26.
The model’s outlook for the world was even more dire, with deaths projected to triple to 2.8 million by January 1, 2021.
India reported 86,432 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, taking its total infections to 4,023,179, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. and Brazil are the only countries that have more cases than India.
The U.S. leads the world in COVID infections with 6,243,849, while Brazil has 4,092,832, according to Johns Hopkins.
The coronavirus has brutalized some locations in Mexico so badly that local governments have run out of death certificates.
Mexican officials say a million new forms have been printed.
Mexico has recorded 66,851 COVID-19 deaths, placing it only behind the U.S, Brazil and India in the number of pandemic deaths on the Johns Hopkins listing.
The U.S. has recorded 188,507 deaths, Brazil has 125,521 and India has 69,561, Johns Hopkins said.
Toll on health workers
Amnesty International said this week that 1,320 health workers in Mexico had died from the coronavirus pandemic, the worst in any country in the world.
Amnesty’s report highlighted the deadly toll COVID-19 has had on frontline workers. Overall, at least 7,000 health workers have died of the virus.
According to a Reuters analysis of data from the Mexican government, health care workers in that country are four times more likely to die than that sector's workers in the U.S.
New cases continue to pop up in South Korea, which at one time had seemed to quash the virus. Authorities said Saturday that 115 of the 168 new cases were in metropolitan Seoul.
New Zealand said Saturday that it had recorded its 24th COVID-19 death. Joseph Williams, a doctor and the former prime minister of the Cook Islands, was the 24th victim.