WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The COVID-19 death toll in the United States is expected to reach almost 400,000 by Feb. 1, according to an updated key COVID-19 model.
According to the new forecast from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, peak daily deaths in the country in mid-January will be over 2,200, and the total would reach 394,693 by Feb. 1.
If mandates ease, the death toll would increase to over 502,000 by Feb. 1. If masks are universally adopted, which would mean about 95 percent of people consistently wearing masks, the IHME predicts about 315,800 deaths.
Expanding mask use to the level seen in Singapore can decrease cumulative deaths, saving 79,000 lives between now and that date, said the IHME.
The IHME model also projects over 113,199 hospital beds are needed by Feb. 1 to take care of the infected.
The United States has witnessed an increase in daily new COVID-19 cases recently, with around 40,000 new cases per day since mid-September.
Several states in the Midwest have begun the fall and winter surge, according to the IHME. Daily deaths are over 4 per million in North Dakota, South Dakota, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Florida.
"The fall/winter surge timing in each state will depend on actions by individuals and the speed of reaction to the surge by different governors or other local government officials," said the IHME in a report.
"What unites the United States right now is that 43 states are in uncontrolled spread (30) or trending poorly (13). The 6 states with highest new cases/capita are also reporting increasing deaths," tweeted Eric Topol, a professor of Molecular Medicine at the Scripps Research.
The Dakotas at 650 cases per million are the highest in the world right now, according to Topol.
IHME also projects about 2.5 million overall global deaths by Feb. 1, but that number drops to 1.7 million if there is 95 percent of mask use.
The United States has recorded more than 7,779,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 214,900 deaths as of Monday afternoon, according to the real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.