CDC forecast now projects up to 508,000 COVID-19 deaths by Feb. 13
LOS ANGELES - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national ensemble forecast predicts that 17,000 to 29,300 new deaths will likely be reported by Feb. 13, 2021, bringing the potential total to 508,000 COVID-19 deaths by mid-February.
The updated forecast put out by the CDC on Wednesday predicted that the total COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. will soar to between 465,000 to 508,000 people in just four weeks.
The latest CDC forecast consists of a combination of data from 37 modeling groups and comes a day after the United States surpassed 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to data from John Hopkins University.
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The new projection is staggering and substantially higher than a prediction made by President Donald Trump’s administration in March, when the coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Deborah Birx, discussed models that showed that projected deaths in the U.S. could range between 100,000 and 240,000 with mitigation efforts.
But by February, a total of more than 250,000 deaths had been recorded from the novel coronavirus in the U.S., more than any other country in the world.
According to the CDC, the "ensemble" forecast combines each of the independently developed forecasts into one aggregate forecast to improve predictions over the next four weeks. Both national and state-level ensemble forecasts are developed for predicting new and total COVID-19 deaths reported each week.
The grim forecast comes as a number of states are reporting they are running out of vaccine doses, and tens of thousands of people who managed to get appointments for a first dose are seeing them canceled.
The CDC said about half of the 31 million doses distributed to the states by the federal government have been administered so far. Only about 2 million people have received the two doses needed for maximum protection against the virus, the Associated Press reported.
The CDC’s new forecast also comes on the heels of President Joe Biden being sworn into office and immediately signing a series of executive actions that reverse some of his predecessor’s actions on the coronavirus pandemic.
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Biden will implement a federal mask mandate — requiring the use of masks and social distancing in all federal buildings, on federal lands and by federal employees and contractors.
According to the Associated Press, the U.S. is averaging about 201,000 new cases and about 3,000 deaths from COVID-19 each day as the coronavirus surges from coast to coast. As of Wednesday, there were over 24 million cases, and the nation’s death toll since the start of the pandemic stood at over 404,000.
"It’s so incredibly, unimaginably sad that so many people have died that could have been avoided," Cliff Daniels, chief strategy officer for Methodist Hospital of Southern California, near Los Angeles, said after the U.S. death toll topped 400,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.