The

UAMS College of Public Health is beginning a series of  COVID-19 briefings and the first one, based on data through Aug. 30, isn’t encouraging.

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Key Findings: Growth in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are growing at a slower rate than in late July and early August. The pandemic appears to be in a steady state, albeit at relatively high levels.

• The models are forecasting 35,000 new COVID-19 cases by Sept. 13 and 68,000 new cases by Sept. 28. New daily cases are expected to remain high, averaging around 2,000 per day. • The 7-day moving average of cases, as reported by USAFacts.org, is the same as now as it was on Dec. 31, 2020.

• We expect about 1,600 individuals to be newly hospitalized by Sept. 13 and 2,700 by Sept. 28. Daily hospitalizations show a slow decline, but will remain between 80 and 90 per day.

• The models are forecasting 500 new COVID-19 deaths by Sept. 13 and 1,000 new deaths in the next 30 days. New daily deaths will average around 30 per day

Mask and vaccine mandates sound better all the time, except to the legislature and governor of a state still holding firmly at the No. 5 spot in the country for the worst rate of COVID cases and No. 2 in death rate.