By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
If the spread of the coronavirus continues in Wyoming at the same rate seen now, the illness will result in 151 deaths by February, according to a University of Washington computer model.
However, the toll would drop to 82 if the use of face masks in the state more than doubled from current levels, according to the model from the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
In April, the same model predicted that by August, 143 people Wyoming residents would die from the illness.
As of Friday, the deaths of 68 Wyoming residents have been associated with the coronavirus. At the end of August, the number stood at 41.
The institute has run computer models regularly since the coronavirus first reached the United States. The Wyoming Department of Health has made no statement on the model’s conclusions.
The latest model predicts that if face mask use remains at current levels of about 40%, the state will see about one death per day from coronavirus by late December and two per day by late January to total 151 deaths by Feb. 1.
However, if mask use rises to 95% — considered to be “universal” mask use — the state will see only 14 new deaths to total 82 by February, the model showed.
The number of reports of new coronavirus infections will rise to almost 313 per day by Feb. 1 with no changes in mask use, but will be limited to 29 per day if 95% of the state’s residents use face masks, according to the model.