ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new COVID-19 case predictions, which indict nearly one million COVID cases could develop in the United States by Dec. 25.
Ensemble forecasts from the CDC have predicted change over time since the pandemic began. The national forecast reported Wednesday indicates 620,000 to 1.3 million new cases are likely to be reported by Christmas. The staggering figures are not surprising to local county leaders, though, as they have weathered the post-Thanksgiving spike.
“Across the state, we’ve seen a 40 percent increase in the daily case rate and also a 40 percent increase in hospitalizations across the state. Those numbers are astounding,” Steuben County Public Health Director Darlene Smith said. “We have to take these kinds of projections and the numbers that we have already seen that are not projections seriously.”
In Steuben County, 21 people have died from COVID-19 since Thanksgiving, including a 24-year-old from Hornell who is believed to be the youngest person who has died during the pandemic.
Many wonder what the impact of these new cases will be. Smith says hospitals and medical care facilities could be overwhelmed as they battle the current spike in COVID-19 infections as well as staffing shortages.
“Undoubtedly, it will impact our hospitals and that is the most concerning part of the equation. Our hospitals are already under stress from staff shortages,” Smith added. “Most of the hospitalizations for COVID are unvaccinated patients.”