By July, the United States could be through the worst of the pandemic if people continue to socially distance, wear masks, and get their vaccinations. The CDC (Center For Disease Control and Prevention) predicted this outcome in projections published this past Wednesday.
While the projections are not definitive by any means, as they can definitely change depending on how the population behaves, they do go hand-in-hand with the assertion from President Joe Biden that the U.S. could be back to ‘normal’ by July 4th.
CDC Projects Decline by July
“A sharp decline in cases was projected by July 2021,” wrote the authors of the CDC study, “with a faster decline in the high-vaccination scenarios.”
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director, said that the model could work even faster if “more people get vaccinated sooner.”
In a briefing this past Wednesday, Walensky said that “The results remind us that we have a path out of this and models, once predicting grim news, now offer reasons to be quite hopeful for what the summer may bring.”
One of the CDC study’s main authors, Michale Johansson, noted: “If we can have relatively high vaccination coverage by the beginning of July, that can have an impact on transmission.”
Johansson is currently one of the CDC’s modeling team co-leads.
The model suggests that Covid-related deaths will see a sharp decline due to the fact that many people over the age of 65, many of whom were the most vulnerable, have now been vaccinated.
Creating Covid Models
These prediction models are based on what has been observed throughout the course of the pandemic, as well as the understanding of how the coronavirus spreads and how people can mitigate it using certain measures.
Putting these factors together gave the modeling team a good understanding of the possibilities with a few different scenarios in which behaviors and vaccination rates were variables.
Independent research teams from five different schools, including the University of Virginia, Northeastern University, John Hopkins University, University of Southern California, and the University of Victoria in Canada, agreed upon the same projections, saying social distancing, masking, and vaccines, could create a far more manageable summer outbreak.
Avoiding Large Waves
Alessandro Vespignanni, a Northeastern University computational epidemiologist was part of the Northeastern modeling team. He said that “On one side, it was encouraging because we were observing that even in the worst case, we were not going to experience again a huge wave, and the vaccine that was acting as a wall against B.1.1.7.
As of now, the B.1.1.7 variant is the variant that is most dominant in the United States.
The latest projections could change if the push by the Biden administration to vaccinate at least 70% of the United States by July goes into play.
In the coming weeks, children from ages 12 to 15 will be able to get the Pfizer vaccine, which will also have quite an impact.
Bill Hanage, a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology recently put out a statement.
“The more you vaccinate, the less the other stuff is needed to maintain the same degree of public health benefit,” said Hanage. “In other words, get the shot.”