An influential Covid-19 model had projected the US pandemic death numbers by August 1, and would be impacted by how many Americans continued wearing masks as vaccinations continued, CNN reported.
According to the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s (IHME) model around 618,523 people would have died from coronavirus in the US by August 1. If 95% of the US population were to wear masks, the number was projected to drop to 604,413 deaths.
Wearing Masks Would Lower Deaths By Thousands By August
The numbers grow to 697, 573 for the worst-case scenario, involving fully vaccinated people returning to pre-pandemic mobility levels, as per the IHME. The projection takes into account the vaccine distribution rate as also the transmissible variants spread which was a growing concern with health professionals.
Meanwhile, vaccination would open to Americans 16 and older across all 50 states starting April 19. But, with the B.1.1.7 variant identified in the UK first in circulation, the possibility of another surge in cases could not be discounted though vaccination formed an important step in defeating the virus. According to health experts, the efforts boiled down to racing against the strains.
According to Johns Hopkins University, 80,157 new cases were reported on Friday, the third consecutive day with at least 75,000 or more cases, and the fourth in the week. Overall, the pandemic had left 561,000 people dead to date, the tally showed.
According to Dr Anthony Fauci vaccines were an effective tool to counter virus spread, but they were not perfect and they required the use of supplementary measures like avoiding indoor gatherings and wearing masks.
The director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Business Insider that he did not think he would, even if he were vaccinated enter an indoor place that was crowded place where people were not wearing masks.
On Friday, however, Dr. Janet Woodcock, the Food and Drug Administration acting commissioner said the agency would on an urgent basis, consider Pfizer’s request for expansion of the emergency use authorization of the drug maker’s Covid-19 vaccine to include people in the 12-15 age group.
Woodcock tweeted that while the FDA could not predict how long its evaluation of the data and information would take, the agency would expeditiously review the request using its science-based and thorough approach.
According to Dr Syra Madad, senior director of the System-wide Special Pathogens Program at New York City Health + Hospitals, extension of the vaccine program to cover the 12 to 15 age group was exciting to her as a parent.
Madad, a fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School said it made people hopeful. She added it was very welcome news; it was known that children were vulnerable to hospitalizations and infection. She said they were certainly rising in cases.
The pharmaceutical company said it planned to seek similar rulings from authorities across the world in coming days.
Pfizer added in a statement that the requests were based on data from the critical Phase 3 trial in adolescents of the 12 to 15 age group with or without earlier SARS-CoV-2 infection evidence. It showed robust antibody response after vaccination with the vaccine and 100 percent efficacy.
Meanwhile, Covid-19 hospitalizations and cases were on the rise especially in younger people with the number of deaths decreasing, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a White House briefing.
She added emergency room visits and cases were increasing in younger adults, many of whom had not been vaccinated.
She said people aged 18 to 25, 26 to 54, and 55 to 64 had increasing numbers of visits to emergency departments, even as visits of people 65 older were decreasing.