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130,000 Lives In US Can Be Saved By February By Wearing Masks, Study Says

A new study, published in Nature Medicine, predicts that almost 130,000 American lives could be saved by February if 95% of Americans wore masks in public. Current projections expect the deaths to climb to over 500,000 by February. Wearing masks could save around 25% of those people!

Currently, only 49% of Americans say they always wear masks in public.

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The study found that even if only 85% of Americans wear masks in public, that could still save more than 95,000 lives. But if only 49% of Americans continue to wear masks, the death toll could reach nearly a million by February 28.

Now that winter has arrived, mask-wearing is more important. Although we can catch diseases at any time, they are more prevalent during different seasons. Flu-like diseases, like COVID-19, are more common in the winter. We don't know exactly why some diseases spread better in winter yet.

Models are predicting a winter surge in cases.

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Dr. Chris Murray, IHME Director, said in a press briefing:

"You can see in the paper what universal masks can do and they blunt quite a bit of the surge or delay it [...] 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."

The number of COVID-19 deaths in the US is already climbing.

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Late October has seen daily deaths rise for the first time since August. The IHME believes that this is a sign that the fall/winter surge in cases has already begun in the US.

We have a long road ahead of us.

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It is expected that cases will continue to grow over the fall and winter. The peak is expected to be in January. As pressure on hospitals increase, more social-distancing measures are expected. These are scary times, but it is not hopeless. Doing your part by wearing a mask can save lives!

h/t: CNN