The fight against COVID-19 has become a race between vaccination programs and the spread of coronavirus variants—and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says victory could be in sight. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who said she had a feeling of "impending doom" in late March, said Wednesday that the latest projections "offer reasons to be quite hopeful for what the summer may bring," NBC reports. A CDC study released Wednesday states that with high vaccination coverage and at least "moderate" adherence to measures including mask-wearing and social distancing, there is "a sharp decline in cases" projected by July.
The models predict "an even faster decline if more people get vaccinated sooner," Walensky said Wednesday. The CDC warned, however, that ditching "non-pharmaceutical interventions" like masks too early could cause a surge in hospitalizations and deaths even with high vaccination rates, reports the Daily Beast. It's the combination of vaccinations and other measures "that we really need to make sure that we're in the best position possible come July," says study co-author Michael Johansson, one of the leaders of the CDC's COVID modelling team. (Read more coronavirus stories.)