A new forecast from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts COVID-19 deaths will decline over the next month for the first time since June.
Published on Wednesday, the ‘ensemble’ forecast combines 37 independent forecasts of coronavirus fatalities over the next four weeks into one projection.
The CDC model predicts that weekly Covid deaths will fall to as low as 5,300 by the week ending October 23.
This is a 62 percent drop from the 14,000 weekly total being recorded now and a promising sign that the fourth wave is coming to an end as the U.S. comes close to eclipsing 700,000 deaths.
It also marks the first time since June 23 that the forecast has predicted weekly deaths to decrease rather than increase.
The modelers have likely seen coronavirus cases fall in America – by as much as 26 percent over the last month – and expect deaths to do the same over the next few weeks.
A new CDC ensemble forecast predicts that weekly deaths will fall to as low as 5,300 by the week ending October 23, a decline from the current weekly total of 14,000
This marks the first time since June 23 that the forecast has projected deaths to decrease rather than increase. Pictured: Caskets are seen with full of COVID-19 dead bodies at the Gerard J. Neufeld funeral home in Queens, New York, April 2020
On Wednesday, the U.S. recorded 2,531 virus-related deaths and a seven-day rolling average of 2,080.
This is a 56 percent increase from the 1,327 average deaths recorded on month ago.
The current death toll of 695,000 is greater than the number of Americans who died in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined – and more than the yearly cancer toll.
This figure is also greater than the number of lives lost in the U.S. to Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, the flu, pneumonia and strokes combined.
When the death toll reaches 700,000, it means more people in the U.S. will have died from COVID-19 than the number of people who live in Nashville or Washington, DC.
America’s death toll is the highest in the world despite the country accounting for less than five percent of the global population.
However, the growth rate of new deaths has slowed over the past couple of weeks.
At the same time two weeks ago, average deaths had risen 160 percent over a four-week period.
Experts say that fatalities are a lagging indicator and often don’t start to decline until three or four weeks after cases and hospitalizations do, which means that deaths are expected to soon fall as well.
Additionally, not every state reports Covid deaths every day so it is likely that this figure includes deaths not reported earlier in the week.
Average deaths have risen 56% over the last month from 1,327 to 2,080, but the growth rate has slowed from a 160% over a four-week period two weeks ago
It comes as data from Johns Hopkins shows cases have declined 26% to an average of 117,223 from the 160,157 average reported one month ago
The CDC’s model is not the only forecast that has predicts deaths will decline.
Another analysis, conducted by the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, which advises the CDC, was published last week and looked at different scenarios regarding the trajectory of the pandemic.
Researchers came up with four different scenarios depending on whether or not children between ages five and 11 are authorized to get vaccinated and whether or not a new variant starts spreading.
The model does not advocate for or against childhood vaccinations, but merely suggests they will begin occurring by fall 2021.
BEST CASE SCENARIO FOR DEATHS: Deaths are also projected to drop from 11,563 current weekly deaths, or 1,651 per day, to 415 weekly fatalities, or about 59 per day (above)
WORST CASE SCENARIO FOR CASES: Another scenario, which predicts the emergence of a new infectious Covid variant, would lead to weekly cases falling to 467,507, or 66,786 daily infections (above)
According to the model, this will result in weekly COVID-19 deaths declining to 415 weekly fatalities, or about 59 per day.
These are figures not seen since late March 2020, when states first began shutting down and implementing stay-at-home orders.
In the worst case scenario, in which children aren’t approved for vaccination and a new variant that is 1.5 times more transmissible starts circulating, cases and deaths would still decline – but not by as much.
The model predicts this scenario would led to weekly cases falling to 467,507, or 66,786 daily infections, and 4,922 weekly deaths, or 703 daily deaths by next spring.
These numbers are similar to levels that were seen during summer 2020, amid the second wave of the pandemic, and in April 2021, following the deadly third wave.