3 COVID-19 forecasts to know this week

CDC models are, for the second week in a row, forecasting an uncertain trend for COVID-19 admissions, as the highly transmissible omicron subvariant BA.5 spreads nationwide. 

Three forecasts:

Hospitalizations: The nation's seven-day average of new hospital admissions was 6,298 as of July 29, up from 6,181 a week prior, CDC data shows. During last winter's omicron surge, this figure topped 20,000. 

Nationwide, daily COVID-19 hospital admissions are projected to remain stable or have an uncertain trend over the next four weeks, with 3,500 to 14,700 new admissions likely reported on Aug. 19, according to the CDC's ensemble forecast from 18 modeling groups.

The cloudy forecasts come as many health experts say it's still too early to fully understand whether BA.5 will fuel a COVID-19 surge that puts pressure on U.S. hospitals. 

Cases: Daily COVID-19 cases are projected to increase 11.1 percent in the next two weeks, a higher rate of increase than projected last week, according to modeling from Mayo Clinic. Forecasts suggest daily average cases will jump from 119,947.1 cases on July 29 to 133,265 by Aug. 12. This figure hit a peak of more than 800,000 during the last omicron surge, according to data tracked by The New York Times

The nation's case rate is also expected to increase from 39.2 cases per 100,000 population to 40.6 over the same period.

Deaths: COVID-19 deaths are projected to remain stable or have an uncertain trend over the next month, according to the CDC's ensemble forecast from 17 modeling groups. The forecast projects 2,000 to 6,100 new deaths likely reported in the week ending Aug. 20, which translates to a daily total of 285.7 to 871.4 deaths.

The nation's current seven-day daily death average is 435 as of Aug. 1, up 2 percent in the last two weeks, according to data from the Times.

The CDC said its ensemble forecasts are among the most reliable for COVID-19 modeling, but they cannot predict rapid changes in hospitalizations or deaths. Therefore, they should not be relied on "for making decisions about the possibility or timing of rapid changes in trends," the agency said.

Note: Mayo Clinic uses a Bayesian statistical model to forecast cases that automatically updates as new data becomes available. There is an uncertainty interval for forecast values, with lower and upper bounds that are not included in this list. To learn more about the data Mayo Clinic uses to forecast hot spots, click here. Becker's pulled the forecast values Aug. 1 at 8:55 a.m. CDT.


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