The next four weeks could prove to be especially deadly for the U.S. if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s predictions about the COVID-19 pandemic come to fruition.

The agency has projected that over 61,000 Americans could die from COVID in the next month, according to its latest ensemble forecast that was published on Wednesday.

There have been over 860,248 COVID-related deaths in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The forecast from the CDC would take average COVID deaths to 2,575 a day, up from the current average of 1,576 a day, according to Johns Hopkins, as reported by CNN.

As the Omicron variant surges across the U.S. and accounts for 99.5% of all new COVID cases, the latest projections from the CDC show that deaths will steadily rise over the next three weeks and level off in the fourth week.

The ensemble forecast from the agency also projected COVID hospitalizations, which are estimated to remain around current numbers or have an uncertain trend after the CDC predicted a rise in patient admissions for the last eight weeks.

There are 154,335 Americans hospitalized with COVID-19, as reported by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to CNN.

It was unclear from the CDC forecast if the number of positive COVID cases would increase or decrease in the U.S. in the same timeframe.

The CDC said about the possible virus case count, “Recent case forecasts have shown low reliability, with more reported cases than expected falling outside the forecast prediction intervals for 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-week ahead case forecasts. Therefore, case forecasts will continue to be collected and analyzed, but will not be summarized until sustained improvements in performance are observed.”

There have been over 69.3 million positive cases of the coronavirus reported since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins.

The study followed nearly 1,300 people hospitalised for Covid between January and May 2020 in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the first city affected by the pandemic
Representational image of a man in hospital after contracting COVID-19. AFP / Yasuyoshi CHIBA