Masks Are Effective and Essential, and the IHME Projection Update

Masks Are Effective and Essential, and the IHME Projection Update

The IHME at U. Of Washington has done a literature study of the effectiveness of masks.  Used in the general population, they are 67% effective in reducing the spread of the Coronavirus.  When the IHME does projections, the wearing of masks by 95% of the population generally reduces future deaths by a half.  95% was chosen as the maximum compliance seen among countries.  A poll shows that 25% of Americans do not see the necessity of wearing masks, through incorrect beliefs.  

Trump actually endorsed mask wearing today.  Of course, he made it all about himself, saying vainly that he looked good in a mask, like the Lone Ranger.  Hi, Ho, Silver.  But, the Lone Ranger’s mask was around his eyes, not his nose and mouth.

The IHME has three projections.  The Current Projection actually has a built in restoration of mandates for two weeks when the daily deaths of a country or state exceeds 8 per million, based on actions from other countries.  For California with 40 million, that would be 320 deaths a day.  For Texas at 29 million, 232; for Florida at 21.5 million, 172; for Arizona at 7.3 million, 58 a day; and for the US at 328 million, 2,624 a day.  Right now, the US has 600-800 deaths per day, described by the Administration as “embers”. 

The Mandates Easing are the larger predictions if no mandates are reimposed.  These first two titles misled me, and probably others.  

The Universal Masks projection saving half of our new deaths, is if 95% wear masks, which is highly unlikely for the US.  In any case, if you want something simple to say to those who do not wear masks when and where they should, it is that wearing masks cuts deaths in half.  Social distancing is also important.  As is staying home when sick, and quarantining when exposed.

Here are the mask wearing habits of Countries and US States and Canadian Provinces.


Here are some CNN Coronavirus stories today.  Outdoor activities are 15 to 18 times safer than indoor ones.  California’s Governor Gavin Newsom just shut down 75% of activities for three weeks.  He is especially concerned about the July 4 weekend.  A JAMA article showed that total deaths which could be from the Coronavirus are 28% higher than official ones.  The FDA would accept a 50% effective vaccine.  The Pfizer spokesperson said that even if they had a vaccine by January 1, 2021, it would take a 1/2 to 1 year to get it produced and to get people vaccinated.

Here is the table of Current US and State Deaths, Current Projection, and Universal Mask Projection.

State Deaths Current Proj. Univ. Mask
US 128,000 175,000 151,000
FL 3,550 13,349 7,046
CA 6,109 9,853 8,500
TX 2,491 9,694 5,212
AZ 1,721 4,145 3,062
GA 2,827 5,206 4,119

The US Current Projection is 175,000 with 95% limits of (162,000 to 199,000).  The US Universal Mask Projection is 151,000 with 95% limits of (146,000 to 159,000).  The Current Projection is 47,000 more deaths on October 1.  With Universal Masks, this is reduced to 23,000 more deaths, or by about 50%.  For Florida, the Current Projection of 9,799 more deaths, would be reduced to 3,496 more deaths with Universal Masks, or to 36% of those of the Current Projection.  For Texas, the Current Projection of 7,203 more deaths, would be reduced to 2,721 more deaths, or 38% of the Current Projection.  For California, the 3,744 Current Projection new deaths would be reduced to 2,391, or 64% of the Current Projection.

These results should be posted on and in every bar in these states, included on the bar tab receipts, shown on the bar TVs, and everywhere else people congregate.

More than half of the 40,000 average daily US cases now come from CA, FL, TX, and AZ, which has 30% of the US population.


About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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