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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.

Go deeper

Updated 19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers — CDC director approves Pfizer boosters, adds eligibility for high-risk workers — FDA approves Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up.
  2. Health: America's mismatched COVID fears — Some experts see signs of hope as cases fall — WHO: Nearly 1 in 4 Afghan COVID hospitals shut after Taliban takeover — D.C. goes further than area counties with vaccine mandates.
  3. Politics: Bolsonaro isolating after health minister tests positive at UN summit — United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated — Mormon Church to mandate masks in temples.
  4. Education: Health care workers and teachers caught up in booster confusion — Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine — Education Department investigating Texas mask mandate ban.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Sep 23, 2021 - Health

Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine

Gov. Ron DeSantis during a September news conference in Viera, Florida. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday an emergency order allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school if they're exposed to COVID-19, provided they're asymptomatic.

Why it matters: People infected with COVID-19 can spread the coronavirus starting from two days before they display symptoms, according to the CDC. Quarantine helps prevent the virus' spread.

Sep 23, 2021 - World

WHO: Nearly 1 in 4 Afghan COVID hospitals shut after Taliban takeover

A family member stands beside a COVID-19 patient at the Muhammed Ali Jinnah hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, in June. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images

Afghanistan's health system is "on the brink of collapse" due to international funding cuts since the Taliban took over the country, World Health Organization officials said Wednesday.

The big picture: Nine of Afghanistan's 37 COVID-19 hospitals have closed and "all aspects" of the country's pandemic response have declined, including testing and vaccination, per a statement from WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus following his visit to the capital, Kabul, where he met with Taliban leaders.