As Schools Reopen, At Least 97,000 Children Test Positive for COVID-19 in Late July

New Model Shows 300,000 Dead

Meanwhile, a new model predicted that nearly 300,000 Americans could die of COVID-19 by December if more people don’t wear masks or practice better social distancing.

Researchers from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) have issued a forecast of 295,011 deaths from coronavirus by Dec. 1.

However, if 95 percent of people were to wear a face mask in public, some 66,000 lives could be saved, they added.

“We’re seeing a rollercoaster in the United States,” institute director Christopher Murray said in a statement. “It appears that people are wearing masks and socially distancing more frequently as infections increase, then after a while as infections drop, people let their guard down and stop taking these measures to protect themselves and others which, of course, leads to more infections. And the potentially deadly cycle starts over again.”

His team’s model also identifies which states will need to re-impose mask mandates between now and the winter to slow the spread of transmission.

In other pandemic news, the U.S. State Department has lifted its 5-month-old blanket warning against international travel for Americans. Instead, the department will now issue travel recommendations by country.

Why the change? “Health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others” influenced its decision, the state department said in a statement released Thursday. The change will allow travelers to make “informed decisions” based on the situation in specific countries, officials said.

“We continue to recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic,” the agency’s statement said.

Despite the lifting of the travel warning, many other countries are currently restricting American citizens from entry because the United States has far more coronavirus cases than any other nation in the world, the Washington Post reported.