(CNN NEWSOURCE) — The coronavirus pandemic isn’t expected to ease throughout the summer and an updated model shows the importance of being cautious and wearing masks.
“Not wearing a mask in public is like driving drunk,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at George Washington University.
The latest coronavirus projection from the University of Washington reports that more than 179,000 Americans will die by Oct. 1. However, researchers say that if masks are worn universally, the death toll could drop by about 33,000 or more.
“For pretty much every state that we’ve looked at if we can get people to wear masks we can not only saves lives but i sort of think of it as we can also save the economy because we can keep business going,” said Dr. Chris Murray of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
This comes as more than half of the U.S. is seeing an increase in week-to-week cases with records being set in California, Florida and Texas for single-day coronavirus case reports.
“You need to understand COVID-19 is still here, it’s spreading faster than ever before,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said.
While the White House says progress is being made on vaccines, health experts stress erring on the side of caution could be the difference between life and death.
“We have evidence, early evidence, that masks can reduce transmission even up to six-fold,” CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said. “I think it’s clear that they can save lives.”