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The 10 States Facing the Worst CDC COVID-19 Mortality Forecasts

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A team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is predicting that the total number of weekly COVID-19 deaths could increase to more than 11,000 in the week ending Sept. 25.

That would be up 56% from the U.S. COVID-19 death total of 7,327 for the seven-day period ending Sept. 1, and up 16% from the total of 9,860 that the CDC team predicted, on Aug. 30, for the week ending Sept. 4.

The latest actual weekly death count, and the totals in the forecasts, are much higher than the average of about 1,000 to 5,000 deaths per week for the period from April through July, but not as high as the totals the CDC recorded for the pandemic mortality peaks that occurred around April 2020 and January of this year.

In April 2020, reported COVID-19 mortality peaked at around 15,000 deaths per week.

During the wave that crested earlier this year, mortality peaked at around 25,000 deaths per week.

The ultimate weekly death total for the peak week in the current surge could affect some life insurers’ 2021 life insurance claim forecasts. Many had predicted, based on the low death counts in the second quarter, that the total for all of 2021 could be much lower than the total for 2020. Other life insurers have suggested that resistance to vaccines and the rise of COVID-19 variants could make forecasting 2021 mortality difficult.

Methods

The Division of Viral Diseases at the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases creates COVID-19 mortality forecast charts using forecasts from many different government, academic and commercial organizations.

The complete data spreadsheet provides weekly COVID-19 mortality predictions for each state from each forecast supplier, based on factors such as population density and COVID-19 vaccine take-up rates.

The CDC team also combines each separate prediction to create “ensemble” predictions for each state and the country.

Most of the forecasts for the country as a whole suggest that COVID-19 mortality rate for the United States as a whole could range somewhere from about the same as what it is now up to a level about three times as high as the current mortality rate.

The latest state data chart, based on forecasts available Aug. 30, indicates that the percentage change in the number of weekly COVID-19 deaths could range from a decrease of 8.3%, in Rhode Island, to an increase of 100% or more in two states.

The median change could be an increase of about 21%. The median is much higher than the 16% average, national forecast increase because many of the states where the number of deaths is expected to increase rapidly have relatively small populations.

For a look at the forecast data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, see the table below.

For a look at the 10 states where, according to the ensemble forecasts, mortality could increase the most between the week ending Sept. 4 and the week ending Sept. 25, see the slideshow above.

The CDC’s COVID-19 Death Forecast Data

This chart is drawn from CDC charts that show how many people might die from COVID-19 in each state in the current week and the week ending Sept. 25. The CDC bases estimates on predictions from many different forecasters. The CDC includes separate figures for each forecaster, and it also includes combined, “ensemble” figures. The figures here are the ensemble figures.
Predicted COVID-19 Deaths (week ending Sept. 4) Predicted COVID-19 Deaths (week ending Sept. 25) Predicted Change in Number of COVID-19 Deaths (in %)
Alabama              251                291 15.9%
Alaska                20                  23 15.0%
Arizona              197                245 24.4%
Arkansas              211                201 -4.7%
California              665                707 6.3%
Colorado                51                  66 29.4%
Connecticut                28                  32 14.3%
Delaware                23                  27 17.4%
District of Columbia                  6                     7 16.7%
Florida           1,789             1,727 -3.5%
Georgia              427                623 45.9%
Hawaii                24                  33 37.5%
Idaho                48                  51 6.3%
Illinois              185                221 19.5%
Indiana              179                257 43.6%
Iowa                37                  45 21.6%
Kansas                85                  97 14.1%
Kentucky              168                206 22.6%
Louisiana              458                371 -19.0%
Maine                  9                  11 22.2%
Maryland                63                  77 22.2%
Massachusetts                48                  50 4.2%
Michigan              137                214 56.2%
Minnesota                43                  64 48.8%
Mississippi              320                325 1.6%
Missouri              215                195 -9.3%
Montana                29                  42 44.8%
Nebraska                17                  22 29.4%
Nevada              144                132 -8.3%
New Hampshire                14                  18 28.6%
New Jersey                94                113 20.2%
New Mexico                40                  51 27.5%
New York              185                214 15.7%
North Carolina              324                432 33.3%
North Dakota                12                  16 33.3%
Ohio              103                162 57.3%
Oklahoma              133                160 20.3%
Oregon              119                137 15.1%
Pennsylvania              154                273 77.3%
Rhode Island                12                  11 -8.3%
South Carolina              260                369 41.9%
South Dakota                  7                  14 100.0%
Tennessee              271                378 39.5%
Texas           1,394             1,442 3.4%
Utah                52                  55 5.8%
Vermont                  6                     8 33.3%
Virginia              121                166 37.2%
Washington              175                219 25.1%
West Virginia                65                133 104.6%
Wisconsin                81                  94 16.0%
Wyoming                25                  30 20.0%
NATIONAL           9,860           11,445 16.1%
Source: “COVID-19 Forecasts: Deaths”

(Photo: Shutterstock)