U.S. Covid Cases Could See ‘Sharp Decline’ by July, CDC Says
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Covid-19 cases could see a sharp decline by July if nationwide vaccination efforts continue to be successful, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers used scenario modeling techniques to show long-term projections of potential trends in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in data released Wednesday in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
As expected, a decline in adherence to anti-pandemic measures, such as social distancing and mask wearing, together with increased transmissability of new variants, led to surges in Covid cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. However, high vaccination rates and compliance with public-health prevention measures showed a sharp decline expected by July.
In all four scenarios researchers examined, Covid-19 cases were projected to increase through May nationally. Increases in deaths were also predicted this month, peaking at 11,100 weekly across the U.S, because of the prevalence of a fast-spreading variant initially seen in the U.K. and a decline in anti-pandemic mandates.
The models also considered age-specific vaccinations, and found that higher coverage in older adults helped to reduce hospitalizations and deaths.
Researchers warned the findings should not be considered forecasts of the most likely outcomes, yet instead are intended to help with planning and guiding public-health efforts.
In a White House briefing on Wednesday CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the models are a reminder that there is a path out of the pandemic. She said the data that once contained grim predictions now offers reasons to be hopeful for what the summer may bring, she said.
However, Walensky also warned that although the U.S. is seeing a decrease in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, the variants are a “wild card” that could put states at risk for increasing caseloads, especially if vaccination rates drop and anti-pandemic measures are lifted.
“We need to keep vaccinating people but we also need to keep practicing certain prevention interventions to help us get to the predicted good outcomes,” she added.
The findings were published a day after President Joe Biden set a target of 70% of U.S. adults receiving at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by July 4, and for 160 million adults to be fully vaccinated by Independence Day.
However, data shows that the number of Americans getting their first dose of a vaccine is declining in at least 47 states.
Health officials and the White House say the vaccine campaign has moved into a new phase, aimed at people who either haven’t been able to sign up, haven’t made it a priority, or who have hesitations.
“We’re going to have to bring the vaccine to people who are less eager,” Biden said during a White House briefing on Tuesday. “We’re going to make it easier than ever to get vaccinated.”
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