COVID-19 cases will fall sharply by July, CDC models predict

The U.S. will see a drastic decrease in new COVID-19 cases by July if vaccination rates remain high and Americans maintain public health measures such as masking and social-distancing, the CDC forecasted in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published May 5.

The report summarizes results from six models that each forecast four different scenarios for the pandemic's trajectory through September. In every scenario, COVID-19 cases were projected to increase through May, in part because of the spread of the B.1.1.7 variant first found in the U.K. and relaxed COVID-19 mitigation measures. The nation's weekly death toll was also projected to peak at 7,000 to 11,100 this month. 

With high vaccination rates and moderate adherence to public health measures, the models forecasted that deaths and hospitalizations would remain low, and that cases would fall sharply by July. This decrease could occur even sooner if vaccination rates accelerate. 

"The results remind us that we have the path out of this, and models, once projecting really grim news, now offer reasons to be quite hopeful for what the summer may bring," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said during a May 5 White House briefing.

However, even moderate reductions in public health measures such as social-distancing and masking could undermine vaccine-related gains, the agency warned.

"Local conditions and emerging variants are putting many states at risk for increases in COVID-19 cases, especially if we do not increase the rate of vaccinations, and if we do not keep our current mitigation strategies in place until we have a critical mass of people vaccinated," Dr. Wallensky said. "We need to keep vaccinating people, but we all need to keep practicing certain prevention interventions to help us get to the predicted good outcomes."

To view the CDC's full report, click here.


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