Weekly COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. could decline by as much as 71 percent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now predicts.
CDC’s latest forecasts suggest that between 1,200 and 4,600 people will die of COVID-19 during the week ending in June 12. By then, the agency predicts that the overall death toll could rise to somewhere between 594,000 and 604,000.
That would be a decrease of more than 70 percent from the more than 4,000 people who died of Covid last week in the U.S.
To-date, more than 587,000 Americans have died of coronavirus since the pandemic began. Deaths rose Tuesday with 857 new fatalities, driving the seven-day rolling average up from about 600 to 626.
It comes as vaccines drive down new infections, hospitalizations and deaths nationwide. The U.S. recorded fewer than 30,000 new infections on Tuesday for the fourth day in a row, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
In further evidence that the shots are working, states with high rates of vaccination like Vermont and Massachusetts have seen rapid declines in weekly cases and test positivity rates.
But there are notable exceptions to the promising trends: Several states that have some of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates are seeing cases spike.
CDC’s latest forecasts suggest that between 1,200 and 4,600 people will die of COVID-19 during the week ending in June 12. By then, the agency predicts that the overall death toll could rise to somewhere between 594,000 and 604,000
Alabama had one of the nation’s highest rates of new cases per capita last week, and has one of the lowest vaccination rates
Mississippi and Alabama have among the nation’s worst vaccination rates with only about a third of the population in each having had a first dose (pink)
Mississippi and Alabama are seeing some of the most alarming increases in new Covid cases, and are performing worst and second worst, respectively, for getting their residents vaccinated.
Just shy of a third of Mississippi’s population has had a first dose of Covid vaccine and 26 percent have been fully vaccinated, Bloomberg data show.
Alabama is doing little better. About 35 percent of residents have had at least a first dose and 28 percent are fully vaccinated.
On Monday, the state hit a major milestone with zero new deaths reported.
But cases have shot up. The state saw its seven-day rolling average of new infections soar to a near-record 1,541 on Monday, up from less than 300 on May 1.
Test positivity thee is up by more than 10 percent between two weeks ago and the week prior, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
In Mississippi, new cases have risen 12 percent in the same period of time.
The share of tests coming back positive there rose by only 1.5 over the past two weeks, but the state still has one of the highest positivity rates in the nation at 12.1 percent.
It’s seeing more modest increases, but it comes as almost every other state in the union reports declines in new infections.
Thus far, the strongest predictors of low vaccination rates have been states and counties with high proportions of Republicans and Trump voters.
And 56 percent and 62 percent of voters in Mississippi and Alabama, respectively, voted for Trump in the 2020 election.
The states are two of 10 where fewer than half of residents have had a first dose of vaccines. They are joined by: Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Vermont, meanwhile, has vaccinated more than 65 percent of its population with at least a first dose.
Massachusetts is a close second with about 63 percent of its residents having received at least one dose.
Last week, Vermont had the third lowest test positivity rate in the country, which was stable compared to the week prior.
The state is seeing about 38 new cases per day, a rate of less than six per 100,000 people.
By comparison, Mississippi is seeing about 7.6 new infections per capita a day.
With more than 60 percent of American adults having had a first dose of COVID-19 vaccines, hope is rising that the U.S. could soon get back to some semblance of normality.
But holes in vaccine coverage could leave some states more vulnerable to outbreaks that have the potential to cross state lines and drive up nationwide cases hospitalizations and deaths.