Coronavirus death toll in US could surpass 500,000 by February
More than 84,000 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 across the US on Friday, according to a Reuters tally.
The US death toll from COVID-19 could surpass 500,000 by February unless nearly all Americans wear face masks, researchers said on Friday, as 16 states set new records for one-day increases in infections.
The latest estimate by the widely cited University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reflects fears that cold winter weather will drive Americans indoors, where the virus is more likely to spread.
More than 84,000 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 across the US on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, a record one-day increase in infections during the pandemic as the virus surges again nationwide. The spike to 84,218 cases broke the record of 77,299 set on July 16.
Sixteen US states also hit one-day records for new infections of the virus that causes COVID-19 on Friday, including five considered key in the Nov. 3 presidential election: Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
"We are heading into a very substantial fall/winter surge," said IHME director Chris Murray, who co-led the research.
The number of possible deaths could drop by 130,000 if 95% of Americans would cover their faces, the IHME said, echoing a recommendation by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
US Health Secretary Alex Azar attributed the increase in cases nationwide to the behavior of individuals, saying household gatherings have become a "major vector of disease spread."
Asked about an assertion by President Donald Trump during Thursday night's presidential debate that the United States is "rounding the turn" on the pandemic, Azar told CNN that Trump was trying to provide hope to Americans waiting for a vaccine.
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