ORLANDO, Fla. – Health experts said thousands of more people in Florida could die from the coronavirus in the coming months.
News 6 reporter Amanda Castro spoke with Dr. Ali Mokdad with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Thursday to discuss the grim projection.
According to Mokdad latest numbers, more than 23,000 Floridians are projected to die by March 1.
The doctor added that if 95% of Floridians wore a mask and followed CDC guidelines, the number could drop down to just over 20,000.
Mokdad’s projections are used around the world, including by the White House.
He said currently, 65% of Floridians are wearing a mask, according to his reports.
“We can do much better with that,” he said.
Mokdad said coronavirus cases are expected to rise during the winter months, but it might not be as bad in Florida.
“Many of the activities in Florida could be done outdoors, so as long as people help each other by moving all their actives outdoors, wearing a mask, and staying away from each other we can do a much better job compared to other states that can’t do that,” Mokdad said.
He adds this could help prevent the state from shutting down again.
“If we do our part we can prevent a total lockdown in Florida. We can save lives and save the economy,” Mokdad said.
Mokdad said he knows with the holidays coming up, many will travel to visit family. But he’s warning people to think about their travel plans and do what’s best for their family.
“I can’t have another holiday with my family, but if I lose somebody in my family, I will never have the chance to see them again,” he said.
He’s urging everyone to practice safety guidelines if they’re visiting their loved ones.
He adds with news of potential vaccines, now is not the time to let your guard down.
“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s the last inning and if we put our best game, we will not allow COVID-10 19 to score anymore,” Mokdad said.
Click here to view IHME’s COVID-19 projections.