MONDAY, Aug. 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) — There could be another 134,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States by Dec. 1 if no new prevention measures are introduced, and the number of deaths could be much higher if rules are relaxed, researchers report. However, they also said that 70,000 lives could be saved if more people wore masks, CNN reported.

At least 176,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States so far. The team at the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) projected that the total would reach about 310,000 by Dec. 1 if prevention measures remain the same.

However, if 95 percent of the U.S. population wore masks, the death toll would be 70,000 fewer during the same period, CNN reported. But if current mask mandates and social distancing restrictions are eased, the daily death toll could rise from 2,000 to 6,000 a day, the researchers said.

“It really depends on what our leaders do, as individuals, and what governments do,” IHME Chief Chris Murray, M.D., told CNN.

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