Though coronavirus cases in the U.S. are leveling off somewhat, the country is amid the deadliest month of the pandemic so far, and health experts fear even more deaths in the coming weeks as more resistant variants of the virus take hold.
An ensemble forecast by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) projects up to another 84,000 virus-related deaths by Feb. 20, CNN reported Thursday. The U.S. has already had more than 80,000 related deaths so far in January, the most for a month since the pandemic began.
New, more contagious variants of the coronavirus from the U.K., Brazil and South Africa have been detected in more than half the U.S. states, and the faster spread of the disease may place an unbearable strain on the nation’s health care system, officials worry.
The country’s vaccine rollout noticeably stumbled out of the gate after limited supplies were made available last month, but President Biden has pledged to drastically ramp up distribution upon taking office on Jan. 20, aiming to administer 100 million doses in 100 days.
As of Thursday, roughly 47.2 million doses of vaccine have been distributed in the U.S., though only about 24.7 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
The U.S. currently has 25.6 million coronavirus cases and more than 430,000 virus-related deaths, both tops globally, according to data from a Johns Hopkins University tracker.