US on track to suffer 100,000 more Covid deaths by December

‘We can save 50,000 lives simply by wearing masks. That’s how important behaviours are,’ says professor of health metrics at the University of Washington.

Clara Hill
Sunday 29 August 2021 19:00 BST
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Covid-19 could contribute to nearly 100,000 deaths in the US by December, experts have warned.

This prediction is based on work carried out by the University of Washington, which predicts that an additional 98,000 people will die due to Covid complications if the US stays on its current trajectory. This will bring the total number of deaths to 730,000 by the end of the year. However, health experts say that this expected total could be halved by wearing a mask.

At the moment, an average of 1,100 people are dying every day in the US. If no action is taken, it could rise to 1,400 deaths a day by the beginning of September.

Ali Mokdad, a health metrics professor at the University of Washington told the Associated Press, “We can save 50,000 lives simply by wearing masks. That’s how important behaviours are.”

Other scientists have echoed the calls for the importance of adapting human behavior to combat the rising deaths.

“Behaviour is really going to determine if, when and how sustainably the current wave subsides. We cannot stop Delta in its tracks, but we can change our behavior overnight,” Lauren Ancel Meyers, the director of the University of Texas’ Modelling Consortium told the AP.

To prevent deaths, people are being urged to increase the use of face masks, practise social distancing, limit mass gatherings and get vaccinated.

“Those things are within our control,” Ancel Meyers added.

Currently, the US is in its fourth coronavirus wave, which is believed to be propelled by the more contagious Delta variant. Those unvaccinated are thought to be the most vulnerable to it. However, data is showing that people might be beginning to take the threat of the Delta variant seriously. Daily rates of vaccination have increased by 80 per cent to roughly 900,000 doses a day last month.

Earlier this week, Jeff Zients, the White House Covid-19 coordinator, said that in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama, “more people got their first shots in the past month than in the prior two months combined.”

Mask and vaccine mandates are rising in schools, workplaces and businesses across the country. More of them are expected to follow after the Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech covid vaccine.

According to a poll by the AP, more than half of American workers are in favour of vaccine mandates at their jobs.

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