WebMD News Brief

CDC Forecasts Up to 11,000 Deaths Weekly in August

photo of virus covid19 render pink

August 4, 2020 -- In a new forecast released Friday, the CDC says COVID-19 deaths could increase to 11,000 weekly by late August.

The forecast includes predictions from 32 groups about U.S. deaths in coming weeks. During the week of August 16-22, deaths could increase to 5,000 to 11,000 new deaths. Overall, the total death count for the U.S. could reach 168,000 to 182,000 deaths by Aug. 22.

“The forecasts predict the total number of COVID-19 deaths reported by the end of each week, which helps us understand the likely overall impact of the pandemic in the coming weeks,” the CDC wrote.

At the state level, the forecasts predict that coronavirus deaths could increase during the next four weeks in Alabama, Kentucky, New Jersey, Tennessee and Washington.

The majority of the forecasts assume that existing measures — such as social distancing or wearing face masks — will stay the same in upcoming weeks. Ten models assume that social distancing will change in the future and affect the number of cases and deaths.

Public health officials are seeing a greater time lag between new coronavirus cases and subsequent hospitalizations and deaths than in the spring, according to The Washington Post. The shift may have occurred because newer outbreaks are among younger, healthier adults, and those without symptoms or with mild symptoms may have passed the virus to older people who then become sick.

“Overall, what this tells us is that now that deaths have started to increase, we can expect them to increase for several more weeks,” Ellie Murray, an epidemiologist at Boston University, told the newspaper. “We cannot afford to pretend everything is fine and heading back to normal.”

Deaths are now increasing in 32 states, according to CBS News.

On Monday morning, the U.S. has recorded more than 4.6 million COVID-19 cases and more than 154,800 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

WebMD Health News Brief Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on August 04, 2020

Sources

CDC, “Forecasts of COVID-19 Deaths.”

Washington Post, “Birx says U.S. has entered a ‘new phase’ of pandemic as cases, deaths rise.”

CBS News, “CDC predicts up to 11,000 people will die every week this month from coronavirus.”

Johns Hopkins University, “COVID-19 Dashboard.”

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