Covid-19 cases will likely surge in the United States in May due to the prominence of highly transmissible variants like the UK's B117, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The anticipated rise in cases is due to states relaxing Covid-19 restrictions by reopening businesses, allowing large gatherings, and opening schools, the CDC said in its report. Due to the relaxation of rules, the federal agency anticipated variants like the B117 being able to spread more rapidly.
Included in the report were four different scenarios the CDC projected in the coming months depending on certain factors. In each of the scenarios, though, the agency anticipated a rise in Covid-19 cases in May.
During a White House Covid press briefing, CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky cited the “wildcard” variants as what would influence the rise in Covid-19 cases in the coming weeks.
But she said that the projections should remind the public that “we have a path out of this” through following guidance and getting a vaccine.
“Although we are seeing progress in terms of decreased cases, hospitalisations and death, variants are a wildcard that could reverse this progress we have made,” she said. “We are seeing that our current vaccines are protecting against the contaminant variants circulating in the country. Simply put, the sooner we get more and more people vaccinated, the sooner we will all get back to normal.”
There was good news in the report, though.
The CDC projected that the benefits of mass vaccinating the American public would cause a “sharp decline” in Covid-19 cases come July.
“The models projected a sharp decline in cases by July 2021 and even faster decline if more people get vaccinated sooner,” Dr Walensky said
This comes as President Joe Biden has set a new goal for his administration to vaccinate 70 per cent of American adults with at least one dose of the vaccine and get 160 million of adults fully vaccinated by 4 July.
As of Tuesday, more than 145 million US adults, or 56.4 per cent, have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 105 million adults, or 40.8 per cent, were fully vaccinated from the novel virus, according to data released by the CDC.
Health and local officials would now have to work to target millions of Americans still hesitant towards receiving a Covid-19 vaccine in order to reach Mr Biden's goal of 70 per cent of adults in July.