As millions of Americans receive Covid-19 vaccines each day, cases continue to mount, raising concerns about a potential fourth wave of infections in the United States.
Over the next three weeks, the country is expected to add up 1.3 million new cases, according to modeling by Direct Relief and Facebook AI Research. “[The model] follows what appears to be a set of increasingly concerning stories about case trends across the United States,” said Andrew Schroeder, Direct Relief’s Vice President of Research and Analysis.
Chicago, Illinois is predicted to see the nation’s highest increase in cases, with Los Angeles County following close behind. Cook County, where Chicago is located, could add nearly 30,000 new cases before the end of April, according to the model’s forecast.
In Michigan, cases are expected to increase more rapidly than any other state, with areas in and around Detroit showing the most troubling trends. Overall, the state is on track to add nearly 70,000 cases over the next three weeks.
Officially, the CDC predicts cases to remain stable over the next month, though the forecast shows potential for variance. The model is an average based on dozens of potential scenarios. While one model shows cases increasing by nearly 1 million over the next month, another shows an increase of less than 200,000. Hospital admissions are expected to creep up this month, according to CDC models, while deaths will plateau after multiple months of decline.
Currently, more than 4 million Americans are being vaccinated against Covid-19 each day. Roughly 108 million Americans have received at least their first dose, including 63 million who have been fully vaccinated, according to data released by the CDC.
The Global Picture
Internationally, cases are rising sharply in several regions, including the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
In Kenya, new restrictions have been announced as a third wave of coronavirus cases impacts the country, overcrowding hospitals, filling intensive care units to capacity, and straining resources, according to France24.
Across Latin America, the P.1 coronavirus variant is challenging health care systems, including in Brazil where the variant was first discovered. In Paraguay, 50% of new cases around the border with Brazil are attributable to the variant as are 40% of new cases in Chile. Peru and Uruguay are both facing the potential failure of their health systems, according to the Washington Post. The variant has gained significant ground in Colombia, Argentina, and other countries in South America as well.
In India, a record 100,000 new cases were reported in a single day, according to reporting by NPR. A double-mutant variant was identified in the country last month, as well as in California.
Data in Action
Since January 2020, Direct Relief has provided millions in medical aid to health care facilities responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, including 5,906 shipments to more than 1,400 partner organizations in the United States and abroad. In total, the organization has sent assistance to 52 states and more than 60 countries.
In order to strategically allocate these medical supplies, staff rely on insights from the organization’s Research and Analysis team, who closely monitor the world’s most vulnerable regions. Through intensive data analysis, the team is able to show which areas are at greatest risk of being overwhelmed should there be a surge in coronavirus cases. These insights help inform programmatic decisions on where aid is needed most.
As cases climb, Direct Relief will continue to use data-driven modeling to inform the deployment of aid.