(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its updated forecast on the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in the U.S. and predicted that additional 29,600 deaths related to COVID-19 will occur in the U.S. by February 6.
The CDC also stated that it anticipates between 440,000 to 477,000 COVID-19 deaths will be reported by this date.
The prediction comes as countries across the globe report new variants and mutations of the novel coronavirus. While the new strains discovered in the United Kingdom, South America and the U.S. are not believed to be deadlier than the virus that initially spread across the globe, health officials say the new mutations are more infectious — which poses the threat of increased hospitalizations and deaths.
The World Health Organization’s emergency committee met Thursday to discuss the new variants, which have already spread to at least 50 countries.
Scientists have also expressed worry that a future mutation might not respond at all to current vaccine efforts and are currently researching the variant first discovered in South Africa as mutations have created changes to some to the virus’ spike protein.
Spike proteins are the site targeted by antibodies humans produce to control the viral infection.
COVID-19 is on the way to infecting over 100 million people, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. As of early Friday, the virus has infected 92 million people worldwide.
The U.S. remains the worst-affected country, with more than 23.3 million infections, which is more than the entire population of Florida based on 2019 census estimates. Florida accounts for 6.47 percent of the country’s population.
In addition, Johns Hopkins University reports that the nation has suffered more than 388,000 deaths, which is more than the total number of Union Army deaths in the Civil War.
Los Angeles Country remains the worst affected region in the country, with nearly 1 million cases reported as of early Friday, in addition to 13,000 deaths — the highest death toll out of any county in America.