US may see up to 76,000 more COVID-19 deaths through February: CDC

Even as nationwide COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations begin to fall, deaths are on the rise. CDC data shows the nation's pandemic death toll was nearly 889,000 as of Feb. 3, and up to 76,000 more deaths could occur in the worst-case scenario by the end of the month.

The CDC's ensemble forecast predicts COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. could total between 933,000 and 965,000 by Feb. 26.

Three more CDC updates: 

1. The nation's seven-day case average is about 446,400 new infections per day, a 36 percent decline from the week before, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said during a Feb. 2 White House news briefing. The U.S. is reporting about 17,100 daily COVID-19 hospitalizations, a 14 percent decrease from the week prior, Dr. Walensky said. The seven-day average for virus deaths is 2,300 per day — about a 4 percent increase from the week before.

2. For the week ending Jan. 8, unvaccinated people were 3.6 times more likely to contract COVID-19 and 23 times more likely to be hospitalized than people who received a booster, according to a Feb. 1 CDC report. Unvaccinated individuals were also twice as likely to get COVID-19 and 5.3 times more likely to be hospitalized than people who were fully vaccinated but not boosted. 

3. Among the unvaccinated, the average number of weekly deaths was 9.7 per 100,000, compared to 0.7 per 100,000 for those who are vaccinated, Dr. Walensky said. These findings are based on data from the week ending Dec. 4

"This means the risk of dying from COVID-19 was 14 times higher for people who were unvaccinated compared to those who received only a primary series," Dr. Walensky said. 

Booster doses offer even more protection. The average weekly deaths among the boosted population was 0.1 per 100,000, "meaning that unvaccinated individuals were 97 times more likely to die compared to those who were boosted," Dr. Walensky said. 


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