COVID-19 pandemic could be finished in U.S. by summer, CDC says

covid summer 2021 when will pandemic end
Photo via Charles Edward Miller/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a paper on May 5 declaring that the COVID-19 pandemic could be over, or at least marked by “a sharp decline in cases,” by summer 2021.

The report from the CDC noted, “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. Lower NPI adherence could lead to substantial increases in severe COVID-19 outcomes, even with improved vaccination coverage.”

The Washington Post characterized it as a “strikingly optimistic paper,” summarizing its contents by saying “coronavirus infections could be driven to low levels and the pandemic at least temporarily throttled in the United States by July if the vast majority of people get vaccinated and continue with precautions against viral transmission.”

The article went on to say that the CDC report comes “as administration officials and leaders in many states are sounding more confident that the country can return to a degree of normalcy relatively soon.” President Biden announced a new vaccination goal on May 4, looking for at least 70% of adults to be at least on the way to being fully vaccinated, with one dose of a two-dose vaccine on board, by July 4.

It also noted that CDC Director Rochelle Walensky affirmed what was in the report, saying that “the modeling results give Americans a road map out of the pandemic—so long as they continue to get vaccinated and maintain certain mitigation strategies until a ‘critical mass of people’ get the shots.”

NBC News added that, according to Walensky, the models suggest “an even faster decline if more people get vaccinated sooner.”

“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,” Walensky said.

Michael Johansson, one of the CDC study’s authors, added, “If we can have relatively high vaccination coverage by the beginning of July, that can have an impact on transmission.” He went on to caution that “it also depends on what we do” with respect to mask-wearing and social distancing.

“It’s the combination of those things that we really need to make sure that we’re in the best position possible come July,” he said.

Sources: CDC, Washington Post, NBC News

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