A model often cited by top health officials dramatically raised its projections for US Covid-19 deaths Friday morning, predicting over 410,000 deaths by January 1 -- which would mean another 224,000 Americans lost in just the next four months.
The model from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) points to declining mask use in some regions from a peak in usage in early August, reports the CNN.
The scenarios in the model suggest 122,000 of those lives could be saved with near-universal mask use. Conversely, the model warns the death toll could be much higher - over 620,000 -- if all restrictions are eased.
"If a herd immunity strategy is pursued, meaning no further government intervention is taken from now to Jan 1st, the death toll could increase to 620,000," according to IHME's briefing.
IHME expects the death rate to reach an unprecedented 3,000 a day by December, due in part to "declining vigilance of the public."
The IHME model, which is more aggressive in its predictions than others, comes a day after a new US CDC ensemble forecast predicted 211,000 US deaths from Covid-19 by September 26.