It’s a sobering reminder that this virus continues to spread.
As summer comes to a close and we approach the fall it’s an even greater reminder to stay vigilant in order to protect loved ones and our hospitals.
“We are begging, I mean I am begging everybody to be careful and do your part,” said Dr. Ali Mokdad with the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
COVID-19 has claimed the lives of over 170,000 Americans and when fall rolls in, the big concern is the flu.
“When we had the surge in April, we didn’t have the flu season. When we have the surge in November and December it will be at the same time as the flu season,” Mokdad said.
And that’s concerning because hospitals could see an influx of flu and COVID-19 patients at the same time if we don’t take precautions seriously.
In King County, hospitalizations are decreasing and are currently pretty low.
But Mokdad says that won’t last long.
“When you look at our state, hospitalizations will increase in the fall,” Mokdad said.
Because even if it seems that COVID cases have gone down and the, so-called, “first wave” is gone but doctors say that isn’t the case.
However, according to IHME’s latest projections, if current mandates ease we could see as many as 420,000 deaths.
If everyone wore a mask that could be down to 240,000.
According to the institute, only 53 percent of Americans are wearing masks.
“We have to be very careful and not overwhelm our hospitals,” Mokdad said.
The hope is masks will continue to be worn and people will stay socially distant so our hospitals are not full of COVID-19 and flu patients.
“We cannot allow this to happen in this country,” Mokdad said.
Here in Washington the institute projects that over 5,000 people will die from COVID-19 by December 1.
If everyone wears a mask, or at least 95 percent of us, that number could drop to around 3,100.