A new series of projections suggests that the United States will see a "sharp decline" in coronavirus cases by July, assuming that people continue to get vaccinated and continue to follow mask mandates and social distancing measures.
The new study, which was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, used six models to simulate the spread of the virus in four different scenarios based on the rate of vaccinations and adherence to public health policies, such as physical distancing and masking.
The researchers found that in all four scenarios, the number of cases will peak in May before dropping off in the summer. They said that if people moderately follow public health policies, the number of deaths and cases will decline faster, even if the vaccination rates slow down.
"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," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.
The researchers cautioned that new variants of the coronavirus could undo the progress the U.S. has made in fighting the pandemic.
"We need to keep vaccinating people, but we all need to keep practicing certain prevention interventions to help us get to the predicted good outcomes," Walensky said. "Although we are seeing progress in terms of decreased cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, variants are a wild card that could reverse this progress that we have made and could set us back."
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