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Model: COVID-19 could kill 618,523 by August, mask use could save 14K

Model: COVID-19 could kill 618,523 by August, mask use could save 14K
Sarah Clemens of St. Peters, Mo. closes her eyes in her car, as she receives her first COVID-19 vaccination shot. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

April 10 (UPI) -- COVID-19 could kill 618,523 in the United States by August, but mask use could save 14,000, a new model projects.

The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation's model forecasts another 57,000 people will die from COVID-19 by Aug. 1 under its current projection with vaccine distribution scaled up over 90 days. If 95% of people in the United States wore masks, deaths could drop to 604,366 by August.

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The current number of deaths are 561,074, according to Johns Hopkins University. On Friday, the United States reported 82,698 new cases and 958 aditional deaths.

In the worst-case scenario, in which fully vaccinated people return to pre-pandemic levels of mobility, COVID-19 could kill 697,573 people by August.

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The current projections factor in COVID-19 variants continuing to spread in certain locations.

To date, COVID-19 has infected over 31 million people in the United States, Johns Hopkins reported, double the number of cases of any other country worldwide and the highest death toll of any country.

In Michigan, COVID-19 cases have surged with 53,265 new cases in the last seven days surpassing a record high in November, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

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On Saturday, 6,892 new cases and 74 deaths were reported. The state is 10th in the nation for fatalities with 16,500.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the state has been overwhelming the public health system, the state's Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said at a news conference Friday.

"Because we are seeing so many cases a day, our public health system is overwhelmed," Khaldun said. "We are not able to get information on many cases, nor are we able to identify their close contacts. We don't know where all the cases or outbreaks are, and what we do know is likely an undercount."

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In the past week alone, there have been 58 outbreaks in restaurants and retail settings alone, according to state health officials, Khaldun said.

During the first few months of the year, the state saw 291 outbreaks from youth sports teams alone, involving at least 1,091 people, Khaldun added.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urged halt on in-person high school learning, voluntary suspension of youth sports games and practices, and avoiding in-person dining for two weeks at the news conference.

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"To be very clear, these are not orders, mandates or requirements," Whitmer said. "A year in, we all know what works and this has to be a team effort. We have to do this together. Lives depend on it."

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In Michigan, residents age 16 and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine with 33.3% of the state's population having received a first dose and 21% fully vaccinated, according to Bloomberg's COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker.

All 50 states are slated to open vaccines to the Americans ages 16 and older starting April 19.

CNN reported the acceptance rate for the COVID-19 vaccine at Fort Bragg, N.C., one the military's largest bases with about 57,000 personnel, was below 60%. Officials told CNN the resistance was largely among younger troops who felt COVID-19 posed little risk to them.

On Friday, Georgia Department of Public Health officials announced a halt on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after eight people who received that particular type of vaccine at Cumming Fairgrounds Wednesday had adverse reactions, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

"There is no reason to believe there is anything wrong with the vaccine itself, and other individuals who have received the J&J vaccine should not be concerned," state Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey said in a statement to the AJC. "We are looking into what happened and what may have caused the reactions, including the conditions at the fairgrounds, such as heat and the ability to keep the site cool."

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The United States has administered 178.8 million vaccine doses with nearly 35% of the population receiving one dose and 20.5% fully vaccinated, according to Bloomberg's COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker.

A year in pandemic: How COVID-19 changed the world

National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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