COVID-19 surge will peak in mid-October, new model predicts 

The nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases will accelerate through the summer and autumn before peaking in mid-October, according to projections shared July 21 by the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, a consortium of researchers helping the CDC track the pandemic's trajectory.

The new "ensemble" projection combines 10 different models from various academic institutions, according to NPR. It outlines four different scenarios based on the pace of the delta variant's spread and U.S. vaccination rates.

In the most likely scenario, which results in cases peaking in October, 70 percent of eligible Americans are vaccinated and the delta variant is 60 percent more transmissible. At this peak, the model forecasts about 60,000 cases and 850 deaths each day in the U.S. By January 2022, the model shows deaths falling to about 300 per day, which is the current death level in the U.S. 

"What's going on in the country with the virus is matching our most pessimistic scenarios," Justin Lessler, PhD, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill who helps run the consortium, told NPR. "We might be seeing synergistic effects of people becoming less cautious in addition to the impacts of the delta variant."

However, there is still a lot of uncertainty around these projections, and various factors could affect the course of the pandemic, Dr. Lessler said.

"Changes in behavior that we didn't predict and big shifts in vaccination could very much change these results," he said.

To read NPR's full article, click here.


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