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Incoming CDC director expects 500,000 coronavirus deaths by mid-February | TheHill – The Hill

The incoming Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director said Sunday that she expects the U.S. will reach 500,000 COVID-19 deaths by mid-February.

Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskySunday shows preview: Washington prepares for an inauguration and impeachment; coronavirus surges across the US Overnight Health Care: Trump admin makes changes to speed vaccinations | CDC to order negative tests for international travelers | More lawmakers test positive after Capitol siege Incoming CDC director vows to tell the truth, restore trust MORE, President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenMissouri woman seen with Pelosi sign charged in connection with Capitol riots Facebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP MORE’s named CDC director, told CBS News’ “Face The Nation” that she “unfortunately” agrees with outgoing CDC Director Robert RedfieldRobert RedfieldThe Hill’s Morning Report – How many Republicans will vote for Trump’s impeachment? Overnight Health Care: Trump admin makes changes to speed vaccinations | CDC to order negative tests for international travelers | More lawmakers test positive after Capitol siege Trump administration to shake up state COVID vaccine allocation methods MORE that the pandemic is going to get worse.

She noted the U.S. has reached nearly 4,000 deaths a day and almost 400,000 coronavirus deaths total.

“By the middle of February we expect half a million deaths in this country,” she said.

Walensky emphasized that those numbers do not account for the “tens of thousands” of people who recovered from COVID-19 but have an “uncharacterized syndrome.” She also said the U.S. has not yet seen “the ramifications of what happened from the holiday travel,” which the incoming director said will lead to “high rates of hospitalizations and deaths thereafter.”

“I think we still have some dark weeks ahead,” she said.

The U.S. has counted more than 23.8 million COVID-19 cases and 397,252 fatalities, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The death rate has reached new heights throughout the cooler months, and between Jan. 12 and 16, the U.S. has recorded at least 3,6000 deaths per day, according to The COVID Tracking Project

President TrumpDonald TrumpFacebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP Section 230 worked after the insurrection, but not before: How to regulate social media MORE’s administration has faced criticism for its handling of the pandemic, including how often it briefs the public. 

After “Face The Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan asked Walensky how often she will hold briefings, the incoming director said she will “brief as often as I can” and “as often as new information comes.”

“When there are new things to report, you will hear from somebody at the CDC and it may very well be me,” she said. 

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