From National Public Radio:
The current COVID-19 surge in the U.S. — fueled by the highly contagious delta variant — will steadily accelerate through the summer and fall, peaking in mid-October, with daily deaths more than triple what they are now.
That’s according to new projections released Wednesday from the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, a consortium of researchers working in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help the agency track the course of the pandemic.
It’s a deflating prospect for parents looking ahead to the coming school year, employers planning to get people back to the workplace and everyone hoping that the days of big national surges were over.
“What’s going on in the country with the virus is matching our most pessimistic scenarios,” says Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina who helps run the modeling hub. “We might be seeing synergistic effects of people becoming less cautious in addition to the impacts of the delta variant.
“I think it’s a big call for caution,” he adds.
The group’s latest projections combine 10 mathematical models from various academic teams to create an “ensemble” projection. It offers four scenarios for its projections — varying based on what percent of the population gets vaccinated and how quickly the delta variant spreads.
In the most likely scenario, Lessler says, the U.S. reaches only 70% vaccination among eligible Americans, and the delta variant is 60% more transmissible.
In that scenario, at the peak in mid-October, there would be around 60,000 cases and around 850 deaths each day, Lessler says.
Each scenario also includes a range of how bad things could get — the very worst end of the range for the most likely scenario shows about 240,000 people getting infected and 4,000 people dying each day at the October peak, which would be almost as bad as last winter.