The numbers on the COVID dashboards just keep going up and up.😬 📈 When will cases, deaths, and hospitalizations peak and start heading back down? 📉

Data and Metrics

A: Buckle up and hunker down: We have a couple more months to get through before we see steep and sustained drops in the numbers. Most experts say we won’t turn the corner until February at the earliest.

Several records were broken this week in the US: Number of new cases per day (232,105 on Dec 11); number of current hospitalizations (104,044 on Dec 11); and number of deaths in one day (3,206 on Dec 9). Dashboards like the one from the COVID Tracking Project (linked below) paint a pretty scary picture. When is the tipping point??

Experts have weighed in on when we might reach a peak. In an interview with Newsweek (linked below), Dr. Tony Fauci said “it’s entirely conceivable that January could be the worst.” He added “”I think January is gonna be terrible, because you’re gonna have the Thanksgiving surge super-imposed upon the Christmas surge.”

The CDC regularly compiles and interprets forecasts from up to 14 different modeling groups (link below, including data you can download and analyze — nerd alert!).

Here’s what those forecasts currently say:

🤧 Cases: The CDC estimates 1,000,000 to 2,300,000 new cases will be reported during the week ending January 2, 2021. That means about 142,000-328,000 cases per day. The high range of that forecast is about 40% higher than current case counts.

🧑‍⚕️Hospitalizations: The compiled CDC forecasts predict 9,300 to 29,000 new COVID-19 hospital admissions will be reported on January 4, 2021 (yes, that’s just for one day). How that translates into number hospitalized at that point depends on how long people are hospitalized before recovering and being discharged, or dying. There is continued widespread concern about hospital bed availability.

😑 Deaths: The “ensemble” forecast currently predicts 12,600 to 23,400 new deaths reported in the week ending January 2, 2021, or about 1,800 to 3,300 per day. The high end of that estimate is similar to the number of deaths per day observed right now. By early January, total COVID-19 deaths in the US are estimated to be 332,000 to 362,000, or 40,000-70,000 more deaths from today.

These are grim statistics, and it’s clear the pandemic still has considerable momentum.

You can help make sure that we hit the lower vs. the upper range of those estimates by curtailing holiday travel, keeping celebrations small and quiet, and masking up whenever you leave the house.

These difficult changes to our routines and rituals *do* make a difference, and we need to keep them up for few more months (and longer than that for masking).

🙏 A hearty thank you from the Nerdy Girls for doing your part. Stay safe, and stay sane.


Dr. Tony Fauci Newsweek interview

CDC COVID Forecasting

Image: The COVID Tracking Project

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