• An IHME projection shows more than 372,000 Americans may die of COVID-19 by January 20
  • A universal mask mandate may save the lives of 1,316 people daily
  • Last Friday, the U.S. reported 99,321 new daily coronavirus cases

The U.S. may reach 372,000 coronavirus deaths by the time a new president takes the oath of office on January 20, a new prediction shows.

More than 372,000 Americans may die of COVID-19 by that day if the current preventive measures continue, according to a projection by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). The model also shows that the total death toll in the U.S. could hit 443,335 if local governments lift coronavirus safety mandates.

The number of daily deaths could also reach 2,290 if the current coronavirus safety measures continue. However, a universal face-mask mandate could save the lives of 1,316 daily.

The prediction comes as millions of Americans have headed to voting sites Tuesday, despite a resurgence of the novel coronavirus pandemic across the nation, which has continuously broken grim records.

Last Friday, the U.S. set a new single-day high for the number of new coronavirus cases, with health officials reporting 99,321 new cases. Hospitalizations are also seeing an uptick, with 48,000 people currently confined in medical facilities, The COVID Tracking Project reported.

Hospitals in several states have already hit their “breaking point.” In El Paso, Texas, authorities are now preparing to convert the city’s civic center into an overflow medical facility. They are also planning to add a fourth mobile morgue.

Bo Ryall, the president and CEO of the Arkansas Hospital Association, said they have a lack of medical staff due to fatigue, increasing costs, and community exposure, CNN reported.

Researchers from the IHME estimated that the country would need at least 131,208 hospital bed spaces by January 20, 33,000 of which in intensive care units. The projection also predicts that at least 14,000 invasive ventilators would be needed.

The country’s seven-day average of new daily cases has risen by 128.2% since early September, hitting 78,380 on Saturday. Officials worry that the upcoming holidays may spur gatherings and fuel the spread of the virus.

Health experts have emphasized the need to follow preventive measures, including face masks, social distancing, and frequent hand washing.

The U.S. has recorded 9.3 million coronavirus cases and 232,553 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Dashboard.

Investors are keeping a close eye on the US election, which comes against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic
Investors are keeping a close eye on the US election, which comes against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY