Best, worst case COVID-19 projections for virus season

COVID-19 hospitalizations increased by 12.1 percent week over week per the most recent CDC data, which was last updated July 31.

While hospitalizations have increased, deaths are down and overall infections are still relatively low despite this recent increase, The New York Times reported. Heading into fall, it is unlikely that the current uptick is signaling a severe COVID-19 wave ahead, experts have said. 

"This is the fourth summer now that we see a wave beginning around July, often starting in the South," Caitlin Rivers, PhD, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told the Times.

The worst case scenario projected for fall — in a case where vaccines are somehow not available or do not offer the protection necessary for immune defense — hospitalizations could reach 839,000 with 87,000 deaths. 

The best case scenario is about half of that, experts told the Times, with a possibility of 484,000 hospitalizations and 45,000 deaths between September 2023 and April 2024. This projection would knock COVID-19 out of holding its No.1 spot as a leading cause of death for U.S. adults, but it would still remain among the top 10 causes.


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