The U.S. may face over 400,000 COVID-19 deaths by the beginning of 2021, according to a model created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

The model, which was updated on Friday, said that the U.S. can expect a peak of 410,451 COVID-19 deaths by Jan. 1. It predicts that another 224,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 by the start of 2021.

The model also estimates that 122,000 COVID-19 deaths could be prevented in the U.S. if safety measures are adhered to, including wearing face masks. Without these safety protocols in place, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said that COVID-19 deaths could jump from the current 186,806 numbers to more than 620,000 by Jan. 1.

“These first-ever worldwide projections by country offer a daunting forecast as well as a roadmap toward relief from COVID-19 that government leaders as well as individuals can follow,” Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Director Dr. Christopher Murray said in a statement.

“We are facing the prospect of a deadly December, especially in Europe, Central Asia, and the United States. But the science is clear and the evidence irrefutable: mask-wearing, social distancing, and limits to social gatherings are vital to helping prevent transmission of the virus.”

Globally, the institute projects that daily deaths in December could reach as high as 30,000 people per day. To date, there are over 869,000 COVID-19 deaths worldwide, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

“Looking at the staggering COVID-19 estimates, it’s easy to get lost in the enormity of the numbers,” Murray said. “The number of deaths exceeds the capacity of the world’s 50 largest stadiums, a sobering image of the people who have lost their lives and livelihoods.”

Murray also had a warning for the Northern Hemisphere, which could see an uptick in coronavirus cases as winter nears.

“People in the Northern Hemisphere must be especially vigilant as winter approaches, since the coronavirus, like pneumonia, will be more prevalent in cold climates,” he said.

According to the data, COVID-19 follows seasonal patterns. If it continues to hold true to current models, more cases of the virus will arise in late fall and the winter months, the institutes said. The world has over 26.3 million positive cases of the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Chile has had its highest single-day death toll from COVID-19, and the numbers are rising in Peru as well
Chile has had its highest single-day death toll from COVID-19, and the numbers are rising in Peru as well AFP / MARTIN BERNETTI