May 5, 2021 - Health

CDC expects new COVID surge starting this month

Mariners fan getting vaccinated for COVID-19

Photo: Steph Chambers via Getty Images

Coronavirus cases across the U.S. are likely to peak this month before dropping by July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

The state of play: America's rate of daily new COVID cases has declined in recent weeks, per data from Johns Hopkins University. Health officials are urging people to remain vigilant as variants spread, some of which are more contagious and deadly than the original strain of the virus.

What they're saying: CDC projections in four different scenarios of vaccination rates and state reopenings show that the outbreak generally remains the same in each forecast.

  • While cases are expected to spike in May, hospitalizations and deaths will likely remain low nationwide, the agency said. Across all four scenarios, the country's case count is likely to fall in July.
  • High vaccination rates and adherence to safety protocols "are essential to control COVID-19 and prevent surges in hospitalizations and deaths in the coming months," U.S. health officials wrote in Wednesday's report.

At a press briefing Wednesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said "we have a path out of this," but maintained that "variants are a wild card that could reverse this progress we have made."

  • "Simply put, the sooner we get more and more people vaccinated, the sooner we will all get back to normal," Walensky said.
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