CDC predicts coronavirus deaths may reach up to 321,000 by mid-December

People do shopping for Black Friday sales at Macy's Herald Square in New York City. (Xinhua/Wang Ying via Getty Images)

Amid a surge in coronavirus cases nationwide and concern among leaders about post-Thanksgiving Day celebration spikes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said forecasting models are predicting that the virus' death toll in the U.S. could reach up to 321,000 by mid-December.

According to the “COVID-19 Forecasts: Deaths,” which was posted by the agency earlier this week, models are predicting that the number of newly reported coronavirus deaths will likely increase over the next four weeks, with between 10,600 and 21,400 new fatalities likely to be reported in the week ending Dec. 19, 2020.

As such, the model predicts that between 294,000 and 321,000 total coronavirus deaths will have been reported by that time. As of Friday, the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus map reported 263,484 coronavirus deaths in the U.S.

The country leads the world in the number of COVID-19-related fatalities, tallying nearly 100,000 more than Brazil, which has the second-highest number of deaths at 171,460. The grim news comes amid a wave of new coronavirus-related restrictions that have been implemented in regions across the U.S., and as officials pleaded with Americans to rethink holiday travel plans.

The CDC had urged Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving and to keep celebrations to within a household, or under 10. New Mexico, Arizona, Virginia, California, Pennsylvania and Nevada are among states experiencing the sharpest spike in cases over the last two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University. Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Nebraska, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Washington are also all experiencing spikes.

Hope has been hinged on promising news from three coronavirus vaccines in development. While it’s not clear what role the vaccines may play in transmission, the hope is that they will prevent severe illness from formulating in new patients.

On Thursday, during a special Thanksgiving holiday message to troops serving overseas, President Trump said that coronavirus vaccine deliveries will begin as early as next week. He noted that front-line workers, medical personnel and senior citizens would be among the first to receive the vaccine.


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