WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The CDC expects 100,000 more people to die from COVID-19 in the next month.

In the United States, there have been 400,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s incoming director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in the next month another 100,000 lives will be lost to the virus.

According to the CDC, there are currently 20 states that have reported having the new strain of the virus, and there are a total of 122 cases. The CDC projects 440,000 to 477,000 people will die from COVID-19 by Feb. 6.

KU School of Medicine-Wichita Infectious Disease Doctor Robert Wittler said a rapid vaccine rollout is crucial.

“When you have the opportunity to get immunized, get immunized, those are the strongest things that’ll get ahead of any possible emergence of a new variant that’s more contagious, more severe, and less likely to be prevented by a vaccine,” said Dr. Wittler.

Dr. Wittler said mutations may result in the vaccine to being less viable, it can become even more contagious, making it easier to spread than current variants. He said getting everyone vaccinated quickly is key.

“The faster we can decrease transmission of the virus, the less likely you’re going to get a variant that comes up that could be more infectious and more serious, or severe cause severe illness,” said Dr. Wittler. “The faster you can decrease transmission, the less opportunity there is for that variant to emerge that could potentially be more deadly or much more infectious.”

Dr. Wittler said it’s important for everyone to continue safe practices.