In a grim update on Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted that the U.S. could see some 362,000 coronavirus deaths by Jan. 2.
The federal agency said in its weekly “ensemble forecast” that the number of newly reported deaths from COVID-19 will “likely increase” over the next four weeks, with some “12,600 to 23,400 new deaths likely to be reported in the week ending January 2, 2021.”
The expected increase in newly reported deaths means the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. is predicted to reach between 332,000 to 362,000 total fatalities by the same date.
For context, the U.S. on Thursday reported 289,970 COVID-19 deaths, leading the world in virus fatalities.
The ensemble forecast “combines each of the independently developed forecasts into one aggregate forecast to improve prediction over the next 4 weeks. Both national- and state-level ensemble forecasts are developed for predicting new and total COVID-19 deaths reported each week for the next 4 weeks,” the CDC explains, noting that the tool’s short-term predictions can be useful in guiding policy and planning around the virus.
The news comes as the daily COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. hit another record this week, surpassing 3,000 deaths in a single day.
The record 3,124 deaths on Wednesday came after the country had been logging more than 2,000 daily deaths in recent days.
Fox News’ Kayla Rivas contributed to this report.