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Incoming CDC director expects 500,000 coronavirus deaths by mid-February

Incoming CDC director expects 500,000 coronavirus deaths by mid-February
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The incoming Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director said Sunday that she expects the U.S. will reach 500,000 COVID-19 deaths by mid-February.

Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyOvernight Health Care: CDC study links masks to fewer COVID-19 deaths | Relief debate stalls in Senate | Biden faces criticism over push to vaccinate teachers CDC study links masks to fewer COVID deaths The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Increased security on Capitol Hill amid QAnon's March 4 date MORE, President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Myanmar military conducts violent night raids Confidence in coronavirus vaccines has grown with majority now saying they want it MORE’s named CDC director, told CBS News’ “Face The Nation” that she “unfortunately” agrees with outgoing CDC Director Robert RedfieldRobert RedfieldFauci defends Birx: 'She had to live in the White House' US considering mandatory COVID-19 tests for domestic flyers, CDC official says CDC gets a second opinion: Seven steps to heal our COVID-19 response MORE that the pandemic is going to get worse.

She noted the U.S. has reached nearly 4,000 deaths a day and almost 400,000 coronavirus deaths total.

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“By the middle of February we expect half a million deaths in this country,” she said.

Walensky emphasized that those numbers do not account for the “tens of thousands” of people who recovered from COVID-19 but have an “uncharacterized syndrome.” She also said the U.S. has not yet seen “the ramifications of what happened from the holiday travel,” which the incoming director said will lead to “high rates of hospitalizations and deaths thereafter.”

“I think we still have some dark weeks ahead,” she said.

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The U.S. has counted more than 23.8 million COVID-19 cases and 397,252 fatalities, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The death rate has reached new heights throughout the cooler months, and between Jan. 12 and 16, the U.S. has recorded at least 3,6000 deaths per day, according to The COVID Tracking Project

President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout MORE’s administration has faced criticism for its handling of the pandemic, including how often it briefs the public. 

After “Face The Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan asked Walensky how often she will hold briefings, the incoming director said she will “brief as often as I can” and “as often as new information comes.”

“When there are new things to report, you will hear from somebody at the CDC and it may very well be me,” she said.