For the first time in months, the daily levels of hospital admissions and new deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States are expected to increase in the next four weeks, according to updated forecast models used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The projected increases come after weeks of steady increases in infections across the country, following the removal of mask requirements and mitigation measures in many states and cities.

The forecast now predicts that approximately 5,000 deaths will occur over the next two weeks, with Ohio, New York and New Jersey projected to see the highest daily death totals in the coming weeks.

“We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, certainly, there’s no confusion about it,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, told Foreign Policy last week.

Forecast models show that 42 states and territories in hospital admissions across the country, including New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Florida, are projected to see increases in the next two weeks.

Nationwide, a growing number of COVID-19 positive patients have already been admitted to hospitals and require care, federal data shows.

Since late last month, daily hospital admission totals have been slowly rising, particularly in the Northeast, according to CDC data. And in the last week, admissions are up 20%, and emergency department visits are also up 18%.

On average, more than 2,200 virus-positive Americans are admitted to the hospital each day, a total that has increased by 20% in the last week, the CDC reports. This also marks the largest number of patients requiring care since mid-March.

Overall, there are about 18,300 patients with confirmed COVID-19 cases in hospitals across the country, up 18% in the past two weeks, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. reports.

Although the totals remain significantly lower than during other parts of the pandemic, admission levels are now rising in all regions of the country.

Nationwide, new infection rates have reached their highest point in nearly two months. More than 60,000 new cases are officially reported each day, up 27% in the last week, according to the CDC.

In the Northeast and New York-New Jersey region, infection rates have increased 64.8% and 54.8%, respectively, over the past two weeks.

Since last summer, dozens of states have moved to close public testing sites, with more at-home COVID-19 tests now available. Most Americans don’t report their results to officials, and therefore experts say the infection totals are likely to be significantly underestimated.

Health experts say a confluence of factors is likely driving the nation’s latest viral resurgence, including relaxation of mask-wearing requirements and other COVID-19 restrictions, as well as highly contagious omicron subvariants, which are estimated to be between 30% and 80% more transmissible. than the original omicron strain.

The BA.2 subvariant, BA.2.12.1, first discovered nationally last month in New York state, continues to rise steadily in the US, newly released federal data show. The subvariant now accounts for 36.5% of new COVID-19 cases nationwide, while in the New York/New Jersey area it accounts for the majority, nearly 62%, of new cases.

With immunity to vaccines waning and variants of concern increasing, health officials continue to urge the public to get vaccinated and boosted to prevent the risk of serious illness and hospitalization.

“Hopefully we won’t see a big uptick [in cases] as we head into the fall, but that remains to be seen. We’ll have to wait and see, which is why we continue to encourage people to get vaccinated,” Fauci said last week. “If you haven’t been vaccinated or if you have been vaccinated and are eligible for a booster, make sure you get it now.”

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