COVID's US toll projected to drop sharply by the end of July
NEW YORK (AP) — Teams of experts are projecting COVID-19's toll on the U.S. will fall sharply by the end of July, according to research released by the government Wednesday.
But they also warn that a “substantial increase” in hospitalizations and deaths is possible if unvaccinated people do not follow basic precautions such as wearing a mask and keeping their distance from others.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paper included projections from six research groups. Their assignment was to predict the course of the U.S. epidemic between now and September under different scenarios, depending on how the vaccination drive proceeds and how people behave.
Mainly, it's good news. Even under scenarios involving disappointing vaccination rates, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are expected to drop dramatically by the end of July and continue to fall afterward.
The CDC is now reporting an average of about 350,000 new cases each week, 35,000 hospitalizations and over 4,000 deaths.
Under the most optimistic scenarios considered, by the end of July new weekly national cases could drop below 50,000, hospitalizations to fewer than 1,000, and deaths to between 200 and 300.
“We are not out of the woods yet, but we could be very close," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, while noting that variants of the coronavirus are a “wild card” that could set back progress.
The projections are probably in line with what many Americans were already expecting for this summer.
With COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations and cases plummeting since January, many states and cities are already moving to ease or lift restrictions on restaurants, bars, theaters and other businesses and talking about getting back to something close to normal this summer.
New York’s subways will...