April 10 (UPI) — COVID-19 could kill another 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 618,523 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.
The current projections factor in COVID-19 variants continuing to spread in certain locations.
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.
On Friday, the United States reported 82,698 new cases and 958 new deaths, according to John Hopkins University.
To date, COVID-19 has infected over 31 million people and killed 561,074 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.
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.”
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.