Story at a glance

  • The CDC’s weekly ensemble forecast projects a total of 276,000 to 298,000 deaths over the next three weeks.
  • The U.S. continues to be the epicenter of the pandemic, reporting more than 160,000 new cases and 1,300 deaths each day.
  • The CDC on Thursday advised people against traveling to see friends and family for Thanksgiving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now projects the COVID-19 death toll could reach between 276,000 and 298,000 by Dec. 12 as the country is experiencing a record-breaking surge in cases and hospitalizations. 

The CDC’s weekly ensemble forecast was updated on Thursday and offers projections over the next three weeks. The forecast previously projected up to 282,000 deaths by Dec. 5. 


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The projection comes after the U.S. hit a grim milestone on Wednesday, topping 250,000 total coronavirus deaths since the outbreak began. 

The U.S. continues to be the epicenter of the pandemic, reporting more than 160,000 new cases and 1,300 deaths each day. Hospitalizations hit an all-time high Wednesday with nearly 80,000 Americans hospitalized with COVID-19. More than 1 million coronavirus cases were reported over the past seven days. 

The crisis has become so dire the CDC on Thursday advised people against traveling to see friends and family for Thanksgiving. 

“As we're seeing this sort of exponential growth in cases, and the opportunity to translocate disease or infection from one part of the country to another, it leads to our recommendation to avoid travel at this time,” Henry Walke, COVID-19 incident manager at the CDC, said Thursday.

The health agency said the holiday should only be spent with people living in the same household. That means people who have been living in the same home for at least 14 days before celebrations. 

Public health experts and officials worry the holiday will accelerate the pandemic and have pleaded with Americans to remain vigilant and follow public health measures. 

Meanwhile, the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation recently projected the COVID-19 death toll could nearly double to 438,941 by March.


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Published on Nov 19, 2020