More mask-wearing could save 390 lives, 3,100 hospitalizations in Colorado, new modeling report finds

Coronavirus

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DENVER (KDVR) — A new modeling report for COVID-19 spread in Colorado estimates 1 in 99 people in the state are infected with COVID-19, marking a fifth wave of infections.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado School of Public Health released the new modeling report on Friday, which estimates COVID-19 infections are at their highest level for 2021 in Colorado.

“Depending on the scenario, the range of COVID-19 deaths through December 1 extends from about 1,000 to 2,000,” the report estimated.

By increasing transmission control by 10% through avenues like mask-wearing, an estimated 3,100 COVID-19 hospitalizations and 390 deaths could be prevented, the group wrote.

“The state data and the modeling indicates we are not quite out of the woods yet,” state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said. “In the short-term, transmission control measures, like masking and social distancing, will continue to reduce peak hospital demand. Longer-term, an increase in vaccination rates will continue to be crucial to reducing hospital demand and saving lives.”

Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have surpassed the peak of April 2020, but the modeling group said they “expect hospital demand to remain below the December 2020 peak,” assuming an acceleration of people getting the vaccine.

The report also estimates 70% of Coloradans were immune as of Friday, whether by vaccination or by prior infection.

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