IHME projects grim future for Alabama

Study: Masks key to cutting COVID-19 deaths

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A health model often cited by the White House is predicting that 389,000 Americans will die of COVID-19 between now and February 1st if we don’t change our behaviors.

Dr. Ali Mokdad with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) says that number will go down by 75,000, if at least 95% of Americans wear a mask.

Here in Alabama IHME projections show 5,700 people in Alabama will die from COVID-19 by February 1st. But again, that number drops to 4,500 if Alabamians simply wear a mask.

He said it’s a cheap intervention, doesn’t require any medication and doesn’t have any side effects.

Dr. Mokdad said Alabama was headed in the right direction to get this virus under control here, but that appears to be changing.

He said Alabama has seen a spike in cases, more hospitalizations and COVID-related deaths over the last week because more people are coming out of lockdown and not taking the recommended precautions to help stop the spread.

He said only 65% of Alabamians are wearing masks, which is below the national average.

“In Alabama right now, mobility is only -4% compared to what we used to see in January. So, people in Alabama are getting out and about and they’re moving much more. So, you add all of these together…mobility is increasing, people are tired of the lockdown and we’re entering the winter season. So, Alabama unfortunately…and many states, are heading in the wrong direction,” Dr. Mokdad explained.

Dr. Mokdad admitted these projections are scary, but he said we have the power to change the trajectory.

He said if we all work together, and wear our masks, we can control this virus and bring it down.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.