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Coronavirus hasn’t stopped groups gathering, but it has led to grim consequences

Despite frequent warnings from health officials that big gatherings can spread Covid-19, large groups gathering continue to congregate across the United States leading to outbreaks in communities, on college campuses and beyond.

Universities in at least 15 states have reported outbreaks, some tied to large group gatherings.

Following what the dean of students and head of public safety called “incredibly reckless behavior,” 23 Syracuse University students were suspended Thursday after gathering on the campus quad at night. The next day, citing “a rapidly escalating increase” in the percentage of people testing positive for the virus, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced that testing would be implemented for three residence halls.

Meanwhile, at least 26 cases of coronavirus in three states are being linked to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which drew thousands of people to South Dakota earlier this month.And an individual who tested positive for the virus after a Maine wedding reception has died according to a statement Saturday from Robert Peterson, CEO of Millinocket Regional Hospital. At least 32 positive cases were linked to the August 7 wedding, CNN has previously reported.

Masks could save 70,000 lives, Murray says

To prevent outbreaks from becoming even more widespread, Dr. Chris Murray said it’s time for local governments to enforce more stringent mask rules.

“It will take a concerted effort but the impact is extraordinary, it’s really quite extraordinary what it could achieve,” Murray, chief of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Friday night. “It really depends on what our leaders do, (both) as individuals, and what governments do.”

IHME projected that if nothing about the nation’s approach to prevention changed, death rates would dip in September but rise later in the fall, and the total would reach about 310,000 by December 1.

But if significantly more people — about 95% of the US population — wore masks, the projection of total deaths from now to December would drop by almost 70,000, he said.

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