After a week that shattered daily case, testing and hospitalization records, Covid’s trajectory is slated to steepen in the US.
Coronavirus, which has killed more than 256,000 Americans so far, is on track to claim another 30,000 lives by mid-December, according to forecasts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The model shows weekly cases and deaths both rising every week for the next month, the maximum range of the agency’s projection.
Other models stretch further into the future and paint a picture of what the disease may look like when President-elect Joe Biden inherits the crisis. Data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle show daily deaths peaking in early January on the current path, at around 2,560. That would imply a death toll of more than 387,000 by Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.
The institute’s model suggests that watered-down social distancing mandates would push the peak to early February, at more than 5,600 deaths per day. The university’s forecasts don’t factor in how a vaccine would slow the spread of the virus, though researchers anticipate adding that to their models within the coming weeks.
The uncertainty underscores how much can still change before a vaccine is available. In a trial, a shot developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc prevented an average of 70% of participants from falling ill. Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. saw higher efficacy, though experts are still divided on how long it might be before a vaccine is ready for emergency use.
The U.S. reported an additional 150,098 cases on Sunday, according to Covid Tracking Project data. The data show:
- North Dakota, Wyoming and Minnesota had the most new cases per million people.
- The states with the worst momentum are New Mexico, Vermont and Wyoming as measured by the percent change in seven-day average cases from a week earlier.
- Oregon posted a record case count Sunday.