CDC Projects Up to 62,000 COVID Deaths Over Next Month

Carolyn Crist

January 18, 2022

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

The CDC predicted this week that more than 62,000 people could die from COVID-19 during the next month due to the latest surge in cases.

Between 36,000 to 62,000 additional coronavirus deaths could be reported during the next four weeks, with 10,000 to 31,000 new deaths reported in the week ending Feb. 5.

"This week's national ensemble predicts that the number of newly reported COVID-19 deaths will likely increase over the next four weeks," the CDC said in a forecast updated Wednesday.

State- and territory-level forecasts predict that the number of newly reported deaths will increase in 31 jurisdictions over the next month. In total, 23 modeling groups contributed a prediction to the CDC's "ensemble" forecast this week.

The national forecast also shows that between 18,000 to 48,000 new hospitalizations will likely be reported on Feb. 4. The current seven-day average of hospital admissions is about 20,000 per day, which is an increase of about 33% over the previous week. On Friday, more than 157,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 across the country, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The U.S. reported more than 1,900 new deaths on Thursday and more than 12,000 during the past week, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 848,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19.

Public health officials are still watching how the current wave of Omicron variant infections will affect hospitalizations and deaths, along with the Delta variant.

"While we are seeing early evidence that Omicron is less severe than Delta and that those infected are less likely to require hospitalization, it's important to note that Omicron continues to be much more transmissible than Delta," Rochelle Walensky, MD, the CDC director, said during a news briefing on Wednesday.

The seven-day average of COVID-19 deaths is about 1,600 per day, which is an increase of about 40% over the previous week. Most of those are likely due to the Delta variant, she said.

"We have seen…the death rates are down from Omicron about 91%. And we will need to follow those deaths over the next couple of weeks to see the impact of Omicron on mortality," she said. "Given the sheer number of cases, we may see deaths from Omicron. But I suspect the deaths that we're seeing now are still from Delta."

Sources

CDC: "COVID-19 Forecasts: Deaths, updated Jan. 12, 2022."

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "HHS Protect Inpatient Bed Dashboard."

Johns Hopkins University: "COVID-19 Dashboard."

White House: "Press Briefing by White House COVID-19 Response Team and Public Health Officials, Jan. 12, 2022."

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