New forecasts show why masks are the easiest — and cheapest — way to save U.S. lives

If states continue to ease their social distancing mandates and other restrictions despite the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, there could be more than 1 million deaths in the U.S. by the end of February.

By

National News

October 23, 2020 - 4:22 PM

Wearing a face mask while doing errands protects not only you, but others. Photo by (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

If Americans would stop complaining about face masks and wear them when they leave their homes, they could save well over 100,000 lives — and perhaps more than half a million — through the end of February, according to a study published Friday in Nature Medicine.

The researchers considered five scenarios for how the COVID-19 pandemic could play out with different levels of mask-wearing and rules about staying home and social distancing. All the scenarios assumed that no vaccine was available, nor any medicines capable of curing the disease.

Consistently, the most effective — not to mention cheapest and easiest — way to reduce deaths was to increase the number of people wearing masks.

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