(NewsNation Now) — The United States could see a “sharp decline” in coronavirus cases by July if vaccination rates remain high and Americans follow virus prevention measures, according to projections by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, the CDC study warned of the potential for another case surge if mask-wearing, social-distancing, and vaccination rates dip.
Six modeling research teams used data to project what the state of the pandemic would look like from April to September 2021. The overall study concluded that even in situations where vaccination rates were low, the United States should see a drop in cases, hospitalizations and death by the end of July.
“Data from six models indicate that with high vaccination coverage and moderate NPI adherence, hospitalizations and deaths will likely remain low nationally, with a sharp decline in cases projected by July 2021,” the study said.
Cases would decline even faster if more people get vaccinated sooner.
“Although we are seeing progress in terms of decreased cases, hospitalizations and deaths, variants are a wild card that could reverse this progress we have made and could set us back,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
Dr. Anthony Fauci described COV-19 as a “wily opponent” during a vatican conference on global health threats.
“I want to find out how could it possibly be that the same virus that has killed 570,000 people in this country is a virus in which more than half the people don’t ever get any symptoms,” Fauci said.
Coronavirus cases have slowly dipped since the record high in January. John Hopkins University reported more than 326,000 new cases last week, compared to the 1.7 million reported the first week of January.
The most optimistic model predicts that by the end of July, new weekly national cases could drop below 50,000, hospitalizations to fewer than 1,000, and deaths to between 200 and 300.
All models included the spread of the B.1.1.7 virus variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom last year. The study said the increase of variants led to an uptick in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Europe, South Africa, India and Brazil — and could do the same in the United States.
“In the United States, B.1.1.7 and other variants of domestic and international origin were projected to drive continued increases in case counts in the coming months (3) and could negate recent gains in controlling SARS-CoV-2 transmission,” the study said.
The report comes as President Joe Biden announced his administration’s new goal of 70% of American adults getting at least one vaccine dose and 160 million being fully vaccinated by July 4.
About 107.3 million people, or 32.3% of the U.S. population, have been fully inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer Inc/ BioNTech SE, Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson, according to CDC data. 44.7% of the U.S. population, or 148.6 million adults had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, school districts nationwide are working to recover from the effects of the pandemic. President Biden has met his goal of having most elementary and middle schools open for full, in-person learning in his first 100 days in office, according to new survey data, but the share of students choosing to return has continued to lag far behind.
“We have 54% of our K-8th grade schools in full-time every day, 90% of our schools are offering in-person learning for students, but until we’re at 100%, we must keep our foot on the gas pedal,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
You can read the full report below:
The Associated Press contributed to this report