In the battle to slow the spread of COVID-19, identifying problem areas of the country and being able to predict those that will soon fall into that category is key. After all, not only can it alert health officials that things are going in the wrong direction, but also give them warning so that they can better handle the expected damage. This week, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified one western state that could be heading in a deadly direction, and it might come as a surprise.
Deaths are Forecast to Increase in Just One State
On Friday the CDC released their latest forecast for the month ahead, recalculating the number of deaths they expect as a result of COVID-19. According to state- and territory-level ensemble forecasts, the number of reported new deaths per week may increase over the next four weeks in just one state—Colorado. They also revealed it could decrease in others, including Arizona, the Northern Mariana Islands, Vermont, and Wyoming.
According to their latest statistics, there will be 4,200 to 10,600 new COVID-19 deaths during the week ending September 5. By that date, they estimate that a total of 180,000 to 200,000 total fatalities as a result of the virus will have been reported.
In order to make these predictions, they use 31 modeling groups, 29 of which provided forecasts for both new and total deaths and two providing forecasts for total deaths only.
According to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Public Health&Environment (CDPHE), 172 patients are currently hospitalized in Colorado, with a three-day moving, average positivity rate of 27% as of Aug. 13. The state has amassed a total of 1,882 deaths, adding six deaths in the last 24 hours.
A 'Wildfire Smoke'
On July 17, Governor Jared Polis' executive order mandating face masks or coverings for anyone in indoor places in public went into effect, and on Wednesday he announced it would be extended. Bars and nightclubs have been closed to in-person services since June 30.
To complicate the coronavirus situation in the state, there have been recent wildfires, which experts claim can exacerbate coronavirus symptoms.
"This wildfire smoke can actually increase some of the symptoms of COVID-19 and could make you more vulnerable to COVID-19 because the smoke can work to break down your immune system," Scott Landes of the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) told Denver7 Thursday.
Until a vaccine is widely available, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.