Delta surge appears to be peaking in US: analysis

The delta surge appears to be peaking in the United States, meaning a decline in new infections and deaths may be on the way, according to a new analysis.

The COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, a group made up of a team of researchers who produce short-term projections of various elements of the infectious disease, released its latest updated projections on the trajectory of the virus on Wednesday. As the surge peaks, some states may still see an influx in new cases and hospital admissions before the cases begin to taper off over the next few weeks.

“Any of us who have been following this closely, given what happened with delta, are going to be really cautious about too much optimism,” Justin Lessler, a researcher at the University of North Carolina, who helps run the hub, told NPR. “But I do think that the trajectory is towards improvement for most of the country.” 

According to the latest projection, of the four possible scenarios highlighted, the most likely indicates that children will be able to get vaccinated and another highly contagious variant will not emerge, leading to a decline in new cases and deaths.

Were this scenario to play out, the projection indicates that new cases could fall from its current 140,000 new cases per day to 9,000 new cases per day by March. COVID-19 deaths could also decrease from its current approximation of 1,500 per day to less than 100 per day by March, meaning the coronavirus pandemic could be “comparatively under control by March.”

However, while this is the most likely projection, Lessler has still urged caution due to the virus’ already-proven unpredictability.

“We have to be cautious,” Lessler said “The virus has shown us time and time again that new variants or people loosening up on how careful they’re being can lead things to come roaring back.”


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