The U.S. is expected to see a drop in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations over the next four weeks, according to the latest ensemble forecast from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s forecast predicted a third consecutive week of declining newly reported COVID-related deaths, taking the total death count to 740,000 to 762,000 by Nov. 6. There have been more than 719,500 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.

Also expected to decrease over the next four weeks are hospitalizations, as the CDC predicted 500 to 10,100 new COVID patients to be reported by Nov. 5. This is the fifth consecutive week of projected declines for hospitalizations, with 64,332 people hospitalized with COVID as of Oct. 12, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, as reported by CNN.

There was no expected change from the agency in terms of new COVID cases. However, overall virus cases are declining in the U.S. as an average of 87,676 Americans reported infections over the last week, according to JHU data.

As many as 35 states have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents, with five states – Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, and Massachusetts – vaccinating more than two-thirds of their population, data from the CDC indicated, as reported by CNN.

But the CDC has reported that only 56.6% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with 65.6% of Americans receiving at least one dose of the COVID shot.

But there is concern over the winter months that COVID cases could rise as people head indoors, increasing the spread of the virus. Compounding the issue is the lack of a vaccine for younger children, but Pfizer’s COVID vaccine is expected to receive authorization later this month for kids aged 5 to 11.

The Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for individuals aged 12 and older, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID shots are authorized for people aged 18 and older.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, has said, according to CNN, “We need the overwhelming proportion of those unvaccinated people to be vaccinated and then we can be quite confident that if we can do that, you will not see a resurgence.”

Medical staff take care of a patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit of the Robert Bosch hospital in Stuttgart
Medical staff takes care of a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in the Robert Bosch Hospital in Stuttgart. AFP / THOMAS KIENZLE