June 26, 2020 -- An updated coronavirus model forecasts that 179,106 people in the U.S. will die from COVID-19 by Oct. 1 unless more people wear face coverings.

The new projection, released Wednesday, comes from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. If 95% of Americans wore masks in public, the number of deaths could drop to 146,000.

“There is no doubt that even as states open up, the United States is still grappling with a large epidemic on a course to increase beginning in late August and intensifying in September,” Christopher Murray, the IHME director, said in a statement about the updated forecast.

On June 15, the IHME model projected 201,129 deaths by Oct. 1. Although new coronavirus cases have been increasing in more than 20 states in recent weeks, hospitalizations and deaths haven’t yet increased at the same rate. That trend could change in coming weeks, according to the IHME statement.

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