The US could experience 100million coronavirus infections this fall and winter, as well as a wave of deaths, the Biden administration has warned.
A senior administration official shared the projection on Friday in a background briefing as the US approaches 1million Covid deaths. It is part of the administration’s push for Congress to approve billions of dollars more for vaccines, tests and treatments.
The official on Friday did not make a formal projection or provide new data to support it. He attributed it to models outside the pandemic that assume that the Omicron variant and subvariants will keep spreading, according to the Washington Post. The projections do not account for any possible new strains.
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked by a reporter about specific models that were used to get to the 100million figure.
Psaki said there are ‘internal and external models well within that range’, attributing White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Ashish Jha.
‘The point he was making is that we know what we need to do,’ Psaki said. ‘We have put out an entire playbook to address the pandemic to help – a preparedness plan to ensure Americans are protected and that we stay on the front foot in our fight against Covid.’
Psaki continued: ‘If we do not take action, we also know that there are – we know that the virus is going to continue to evolve.
‘And without us staying vigilant and prepared – like not having access to lifesaving vaccines, testing, therapeutics – it’s, it is going – it has the ability to upend our lives.’
The seven-day national average of new coronavirus cases more than doubled from 29,312 infections on March 30 to close to 71,000 on Friday.
Some experts have agreed that a spike in coronavirus cases could come in the fall as vaccine immunity wears off and restrictions ease.
‘It’s always hard to predict the future when it comes to Covid, but I think we’re at a point now where it’s even harder than normal,’ Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, told the Post.
‘Because there’s so much sensitivity, in terms of these long-term trends, to things we don’t understand exactly about the virus and about (human) behavior.’
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