CDC predicts sharp decline in COVID-19 activity by July

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New modeling from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts the United States will see a sharp drop off of COVID-19 infections and deaths by July, if high vaccination coverage is achieved and most of the country maintains a moderate adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), including physical distancing.

The data from six models were published yesterday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Researchers predicted different outcomes based on four scenarios with different vaccination coverage rates and effectiveness estimates and strength and implementation of NPIs for a 6-month period (April–September 2021) using data available through Mar 27, 2021, the authors said.

The four scenarios included: high vaccination with moderate NPI use, high vaccination with low NPI use, low vaccination with moderate NPI use, and low vaccination with low NPI use.

"All scenarios included the spread of the B.1.1.7 variant, with the assumption that it was 50% more transmissible than were previously circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants," the authors said.

"In all four scenarios, COVID-19 cases were projected to increase through May 2021 at the national level because of increased prevalence of the B.1.1.7 variant and decreased NPI mandates and compliance," the authors found. "A sharp decline in cases was projected by July 2021, with a faster decline in the high-vaccination scenarios."

Fewest daily deaths since July 

The United States reported 44,51 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, and 776 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. In total, 32,580,188 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the United States, including 579,653 deaths.

The country is currently averaging 46,656 new COVID-19 cases and 686 deaths per day, according to a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins data. The United States has not seen the 7-day average of deaths this low since July.

The CDC COVID Data Tracker shows 321,549,335 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the United States, and 249,556,820 have been administered, with 107,346,533 Americans fully vaccinated.

In a sign that getting vaccinated is becoming easy and routine, CVS pharmacies announced yesterday they will be allowing walk-in vaccine appointments at thousands of stores across the country.

Low interest in getting kids vaccinated 

As early as next week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is poised to issue an emergency use authorization for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15. But according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 3 in 10 parents polled of children in that age group said they would get their child vaccinated as soon they are able.

One quarter say they will wait and see how the vaccine is working, 18% say they will wait to see if school requires it, and one quarter say they will not get their child vaccinated.

To compare, 64% of American adults said in the poll that they have or plan on getting vaccinated. 

In related news, a new Education Department survey shows that about 54% of K-8 schools have reopened, fulfilling President Biden's pledge to reopen more than half of schools within 100 days, the Washington Post reports.

Other US developments 

  • The NFL announced yesterday that fans who get a COVID-19 vaccine will have an opportunity to win a free ticket to next year's Super Bowl, according to The Hill. The league says it will give away 50 free tickets.

  • The number of Americans filing unemployment claims fell last week to 498,000, the lowest number since the start of the pandemic, the Associated Press reports

  • A federal judge yesterday threw out the CDC's national eviction moratorium after concluding it was legally unsupportable, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The CDC had extended the moratorium through June, citing public health grounds.

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