BA.5's effect on COVID-19 admissions still unclear, CDC models show

As the highly transmissible omicron subvariant BA.5 rapidly spreads, national disease forecasting models show an uncertain trend for COVID-19 admissions over the next month.

The nation's current seven-day average of new hospital admissions is 6,181, up from 6,035 a week prior, CDC data shows.

Nationwide, daily COVID-19 hospital admissions are projected to remain stable or have an uncertain trend over the next four weeks, with 3,100 to 13,800 new admissions likely reported on Aug. 12, according to the CDC's ensemble forecast from 16 modeling groups.

The forecast comes a week after the CDC predicted for the first time since late May that COVID-19 admissions would increase nationwide. The unstable forecasts mirror warnings from health experts who say it's still too early to fully understand the scope and severity of the current surge. 

Two more forecasts to know:

Cases: Daily COVID-19 cases are projected to increase 9.9 percent in the next two weeks, a lower rate of increase than projected last week, according to modeling from Mayo Clinic. Forecasts suggest daily average cases will jump from 121,869.3 cases on July 22 to 133,921 by Aug. 5. During the omicron surge, this figure hit a peak of more than 800,000, 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 40.8 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 1,800 to 5,600 new deaths likely reported in the week ending Aug. 13, which translates to a daily total of 257.1 to 800 deaths.

The nation's current seven-day daily death average was 444 as of July 24, up 38 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 July 25 at 9:05 a.m. CDT.


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