MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As summer comes to an end, a new model projects a worse outcome in Minnesota for the fall into winter.

The model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shows that, overall, more than 6,100 Minnesotans will die from COVID-19 by the end of 2020. That is about triple where the numbers are at now.

Dr. George Morris is the physician incident commander for the COVID-19 response at CentraCare.

“A lot of it will be weather-dependent, school and then activities,” Morris said.

READ MORE: Minnesotans Take Precaution Labor Day Weekend As State Leaders Fear Rising COVID-19 Numbers

He says Minnesotans will be challenged with a change of seasons, with people spending more time inside away from the cold.

“When we were outside around the campfire, we were a little bit more spaced. And now if we’re inside, we’ll be closer, we’ll be sharing the air a lot more, touching things more, and perhaps not wearing masks as much,” Morris said.

This fall season also marks the resumption of school in person for many students the first time in six months. Plymouth resident Andrea Tobias and her kids visited her parents over the weekend before they start school. They won’t be having visits after that for the time being.

“We do expect it to just ramp up a bit here with school starting,” Tobias said. “We want to send our kids right away, but we do feel that we should keep them away from our more elderly family and friends.”

The model does show that end-of-year death total could be significantly reduced with universal mask compliance. Experts, like former U.S. Food and Drug Administration head Dr. Scott Gottlieb, says wearing masks and staying socially distant will be especially important in the coming weeks.

“And we’re heading into a more difficult season. We’re heading into the fall, in the winter, when we would expect a respiratory pathogen like a coronavirus to start spreading more aggressively than it would in the summertime,” Gottlieb said.

He says he believes the likelihood of a COVID-19 vaccine this year is slim.

READ MORE: As COVID Vaccine Trials Set To Start In Minnesota, Some Experts Doubt Safe Drug Will Be Ready By November

Kate Raddatz

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