Nearly 300,000 Americans could be dead from COVID-19 by Dec. 1, University of Washington health experts forecast on Thursday, although they said 70,000 lives could be saved if people were scrupulous about wearing masks.

The latest predictions from the university’s widely cited Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) comes as top White House infectious disease advisers warned that major U.S. cities could erupt as new coronavirus hot spots if officials there were not vigilant with counter-measures.

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