State Update: Model Predicts 410K U.S. Deaths by January, Coronavirus Task Force Increased Mask Recommendations Only to be Ignored by Some States, Surge Testing Shuts Down Hawaii Freeway

September 3, 2020

  • Coronavirus death projections released ahead of Labor Day weekend are grim. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington's School of Medicine is predicting more than 410,000 deaths by January if mask usage stays at current rates. If governments continue relaxing social distancing requirements, that number could increase. Currently, the U.S. has 6.1 million confirmed cases and over 186,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Globally, there are 26 million cases and more than 869,000 people have died. 
  • The White House coronavirus task force gave increasingly urgent recommendations to states about masks over the summer, only to have them mostly ignored by six states, their weekly reports show. The reports show that the task force made tailored recommendations to each state -- including recommendations about mask use. The language in the reports intensifies in recommendations for states such as Georgia, Iowa and Oklahoma as outbreaks occurred over the summer months in those states.
  • Despite disapproval from the Federal Highway Administration, state and county officials closed the H-3 freeway today for a second round of COVID-19 "surge testing." Hawai'i Department of Transportation deputy director Ed Sniffen mentioned that because of the decision--the FHA could withhold some funds from the $180 million yearly budget allocated to the state. "This is not a state against the feds," Sniffen said, adding that the DOT has reassured the FHA that the H-3 shutdown would not impact traffic, safety, or military travel and operations. 

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or