The worst of the COVID-19 pandemic’s toll on the US may soon be over come the end of July, new models released Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have revealed.
Data released by the US health agency indicates that as long as vaccinations rates keep pace and Americans continue to adhere to social distancing and masking guidelines, COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths would see a “sharp decline” by mid-July.
“High vaccination rates and compliance with public health prevention measures are essential to control the COVID-19 pandemic and to prevent surges in hospitalizations and deaths in the coming months,” the report warns, adding that a “faster decline” could develop “if more people get vaccinated sooner.”
The CDC models included four scenarios that projected COVID-19 cases would spike in May across the US due to the increased prevalence of the B.1.1.7 strain of the COVID-19 virus, which has become dominant in the nation after initially emerging in the UK.
The anticipated May increase was also rooted in a projected drop in both health mandates and compliance, which has already begun to unfold in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed an executive order invalidating all local COVID-19 regulations.
CDC officials estimate that a peak of between 7,000 and 11,100 weekly deaths will be reported nationwide in May before sharply declining in June and July. Models suggest that by the end of July, the nationwide weekly death toll could be as low as a few hundred, whereas hospitalizations drop to fewer than 1,000 under the most optimistic scenarios.
However, in the event that vaccination rates plummet and the public falls back on maintaining preventative COVID-19 measures, projections show that weekly case counts would skyrocket in mid-May within the ballpark of hundreds of thousands, as the weekly death toll soars past 10,000.
To date, more than 107 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, while another nearly 149 million have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
US President Joe Biden announced a goal on Tuesday to have 70% of US adults receive at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, an initiative that would ultimately place the Land of the Free within the CDC’s best-case scenario.
Biden’s announcement also indicated that officials were on the verge of approving the COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15, should the US Food and Drug Administration grant Pfizer’s request to amend its emergency use authorization. Reports suggest the update could come as early as next week.