University of Washington model predicts nearly 300,000 COVID-19 deaths in US by Dec. 1

FILE - New Yorkers adjust to daily life during Phase 2 of reopening following restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic in Brooklyn on July 04, 2020 in New York, New York.

A widely cited University of Washington model predicts U.S. deaths from COVID-19 will reach nearly 300,000 by Dec. 1.

The forecast of 295,011 deaths is 137,000 more than the roughly 158,000 U.S. deaths reported so far. 

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model assumes that many states will impose new stay-at-home orders as deaths climb.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitors the model along with forecasts from about 30 other modeling groups. Combined, the models predict from 168,000 to 182,000 total COVID-19 deaths by Aug. 22.

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The IHME model shows a steady rise in overall COVID-19 deaths as well as daily fatalities, which the model estimates could reach more than 1,800 per day by Dec. 1. 

"We can now see the projected trajectory of the epidemic into the fall, and many states are expected to experience significant increases in cases and deaths in September and October,” IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray told FOX News earlier this week.

States across the country continue to see a surge in coronavirus cases. 

In Florida and Texas, over 400,000 confirmed cases were reported as of Aug. 3, while New York continues to grapple with the highest count of COVID-19 deaths with over 32,000, according to Johns Hopkins University data. 

According to IMHE, if 95 percent of Americans wore masks when leaving their homes, the number of projected fatalities would drop by more than 40,000.

"We all have come to recognize, wearing masks can substantially reduce transmission of the virus," Murray said. "Mask mandates delay the need for re-imposing closures of businesses and have huge economic benefits. Moreover, those who refuse masks are putting their lives, their families, their friends and their communities at risk.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also said that if all Americans wore a face mask, it could bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control in a matter of weeks. 

Speaking during an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) regarding an editorial piece he contributed to in the medical publication, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said, “If we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I really do think over the next four, six, eight weeks, we could bring this epidemic under control.”

On Wednesday, the worldwide death count for COVID-19 surpassed 700,000, according to a tally from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

In the United States alone, there were more than 4.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 159,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 as of Aug. 6. 

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While there is currently no COVID-19 vaccine, the phase 3 clinical trial of a vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health began in late July ( Moderna’s vaccine produced COVID-19 antibodies in all participants in a trial, researchers said.

According to the New York Times’ Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker, there were six vaccines in the large-scale efficacy test and 12 that were in expanded safety trials.

While previous projections as to when a COVID-19 vaccine may be available ranged from 12 to 18 months, Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said that he is confident that a coronavirus vaccine will be ready by early 2021.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported from Los Angeles.