New research estimated that nearly 134,000 people could die by Dec. 1 if the United States does not take any further action to prevent the spread of coronavirus, though scientists said about 70,000 lives could be saved in the next three months if the country implemented a universal mask mandate.

Researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projected that without any changes to the rules regarding the coronavirus, daily deaths would remain just above 1,000 through September, but begin rising as the fall goes on, and reach over 2,000 cases by the end of November. This matches predictions made by other scientists, who have suggested that case counts and death counts will rise as people spend more time indoors, as it will be too cold to spend time with others outside in large swaths of the country.

If mandates are eased, IMHE predicted that daily deaths would rise quickly through the fall, rising above 3,000 by November 3, and rising above 6,000 by Dec. 1. On the other hand, if a universal mask mandate is put into law across the country, and laws were not eased, daily deaths could be more than halved from current projections as we go into the colder months.

The data also suggested that with current projections, we could see hospital resource use return to mid-April levels. At the height of the pandemic, almost 80,000 hospital beds were needed to treat COVID-19 patients. By Dec. 1, the number of beds needed could approach 80,000 again.

Although research supports a federal mask mandate, it is unlikely that one will be passed. President Donald Trump has repeatedly shut down the idea of a law requiring citizens to wear masks out in public, and has continued to push for schools and businesses to reopen.