‘Many states expected to experience significant increases in cases and deaths’
High levels of mask wearing could reduce forecasted deaths by over 45,000
‘Those who refuse masks are putting their lives, their families, their friends, and their communities at risk’
SEATTLE (July 7, 2020) – In its first projections of COVID-19 deaths out to November 1, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington is forecasting more than 200,000 deaths in the United States.
The forecast shows 208,255 deaths (with a range of 186,087 to 244,541). Those numbers drop to 162,808 (157,217 to 171,193), if at least 95% of people wear masks in public.
“We can now see the projected trajectory of the epidemic into the fall, and many states are expected to experience significant increases in cases and deaths in September and October,” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray. “However, as we all have come to recognize, wearing masks can substantially reduce transmission of the virus. Mask mandates delay the need for re-imposing closures of businesses and have huge economic benefits. Moreover, those who refuse masks are putting their lives, their families, their friends, and their communities at risk.”
IHME’s new projections include the re-imposition of strong social distancing mandates when deaths per day reach a level of 8 per one million people, comparing that with a forecast if no action is taken, and a forecast if social distancing mandates are combined with at least 95% mask wearing in public spaces. Florida and Massachusetts 17,472 (11,275 to 32,577) and 12,906 (11,017 to 16,873), respectively, are expected to reach 8 per million deaths by November 1. The forecast for Florida, which is expected to reach 8 per million deaths on October 1, differs by 6,173 deaths if the state does not re-impose social distancing mandates. If mask wearing reaches 95%, that number drops to 9,849 (7,921 to 14,052).
The projections may increase if the current surge in infections spreads more widely in at-risk populations. Current data from states reporting the age breakdown of cases suggest that more cases are being detected in young people, who have a lower risk of death.
The forecasts also show deaths beginning to increase again in many states in mid- to late September, due to the expected seasonality of COVID-19. Current data show a strong statistical relationship between COVID-19 transmission and pneumonia seasonality, which is included as a covariate in the model.
“The US didn’t experience a true end to the first wave of the pandemic,” Murray said. “This will not spare us from a second surge in the fall, which will hit particularly hard in states currently seeing high levels of infections.”
The forecasts by state (assuming social distancing mandates will be re-imposed when deaths reach 8 per million) are:
- Alabama: 3,443 (range of 2,117 to 6,260)
- Alaska: 14 (range of 13 to 15)
- Arizona: 5,553 (range of 3,905 to 8,621)
- Arkansas: 724 (range of 431 to 1,371)
- California: 16,827 (range of 13,131 to 24,278)
- Colorado: 1,937 (range of 1,765 to 2,508)
- Connecticut: 4,692 (range of 4,550 to 5,005)
- Delaware: 606 (range of 568 to 683)
- District of Columbia: 666 (range of 622 to 760)
- Florida: 17,472 (range of 11,275 to 32,577)
- Georgia: 3,857 (range of 3,298 to 5,031)
- Hawaii: 18 (range of 17 to 19)
- Idaho: 120 (range of 105 to 152)
- Illinois: 8,907 (range of 8,177 to 9,994)
- Indiana: 3,400 (range of 3,112 to 3,870)
- Iowa: 841 (range of 796 to 925)
- Kansas: 632 (range of 398 to 1,243)
- Kentucky: 1,139 (range of 773 to 2,295)
- Louisiana: 4,643 (range of 3,958 to 5,973)
- Maine: 125 (range of 116 to 145)
- Maryland: 3,880 (range of 3,685 to 4,213)
- Massachusetts: 12,906 (range of 11,017 to 16,873)
- Michigan: 7,114 (range of 6,757 to 7,912)
- Minnesota: 1,951 (range of 1,774 to 2,345)
- Mississippi: 2,438 (range of 1,805 to 3,807)
- Missouri: 1,757 (range of 1,349 to 2,615)
- Montana: 22 (range of 21 to 24)
- Nebraska: 588 (range of 404 to 989)
- Nevada: 1,304 (range of 731 to 3,366)
- New Hampshire: 704 (range of 500 to 1,218)
- New Jersey: 16,970 (range of 16,382 to 17,891)
- New Mexico: 924 (range of 622 to 1,881)
- New York: 32,221 (range of 32,022 to 32,468)
- North Carolina: 2,351 (range of 1,856 to 3,487)
- North Dakota: 97 (range of 90 to 110)
- Ohio: 5,712 (range of 4,130 to 10,296)
- Oklahoma: 587 (range of 497 to 790)
- Oregon: 471 (range of 333 to 778)
- Pennsylvania: 9,999 (range of 8,265 to 14,573)
- Rhode Island: 1,282 (range of 1,161 to 1,492)
- South Carolina: 4,059 (range of 2,175 to 8,225)
- South Dakota: 242 (range of 143 to 476)
- Tennessee: 1,908 (range of 1,098 to 3,714)
- Texas: 13,450 (range of 8,967 to 22,738)
- Utah: 396 (range of 276 to 636)
- Vermont: 59 (range of 58 to 61)
- Virginia: 5,190 (range of 3,364 to 9,878)
- Washington: 2,510 (range of 2,048 to 3,331)
- West Virginia: 118 (range of 105 to 143)
- Wisconsin: 1,410 (range of 1,112 to 2,072)
- Wyoming: 18 (range of 18 to 19)
IHME will continue to forecast for different scenarios, including planned intermittent mandates in the fall when deaths per day are expected to reach higher levels within each state, recognizing that solutions are not uniform across communities.
The new death projections and other information, such as hospital resources usage, are available at https://covid19.healthdata.org.
Contact: [email protected]
IHME wishes to warmly acknowledge the support of these and others who have made our COVID-19 estimation efforts possible. Thank you.
About the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent global health research organization at the University of Washington School of Medicine that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world’s most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them. IHME is committed to transparency and makes this information widely available so that policymakers have the evidence they need to make informed decisions on allocating resources to improve population health.