Florida could save nearly 8,000 lives by October by implementing mask orders, according to the latest update from one modeling group once touted by the White House.
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), Florida is on track for 15,393 deaths by Oct. 1. If 95% of the population wears masks in public, the Sunshine State would only see 7,525 fatalities, or fewer than 50% of current projections, by that date.
And if the state continues its reopening process, 16,871 Floridians could die.
Those three projections fall below what the model predicted last week, when it said 18,675 Floridians could die by Oct. 1.
Factoring into the “current projection” is that IHME is planning its new model with the assumption that states reimplement lockdown orders when daily deaths reach eight per million residents. The model expects a quick of new infections in early September and a parallel cliff of daily deaths in late September.
Under the worst- and best-case scenarios for mortality by Oct. 1, the current model plots the death toll between 7,272 and 39,303.
As of Friday morning, 3,366 Floridians have died. Another 98 non-residents have died in the state.
In total, 122,960 people have tested positive for the virus, more than 20% of those since Monday. Friday’s report showed 8,942 new diagnoses.
By Sept. 4, IHME projects daily infections will reach 21,850 making a sharp decline following closures. Without lockdowns, daily infections would reach 31,701 by Oct. 1.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeatedly said he will not make masks mandatory, citing the Constitution and the effort it would take to police such a policy.
“We’re going to continue to put out the messaging, we’re going to continue to put out the guidance, and we’re going to trust people to make good judgment,” the Governor told reporters in Fort Myers Friday.
Another model, aggregated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, puts the death toll by Oct. 1 at 9,152. The lower and upper bounds on that projections are 5,632 and 13,653 respectively.
That model, produced independently by MIT graduate and data scientist Youyang Gu, also lists a reproduction number of 1.07 statewide, meaning the rate of new cases is growing rather than dropping, as the model shows between April and mid-May.