It will come down to whether or not any of the virus variants take hold here. Right now the prevalence of the UK variant is low but growing and the Brazil and South Africa variants have now been detected. These variants are reputed to be much more transmissible but not more deadly (though recently the UK cast some doubt on that).
The good news today is cases are going down. The bad news is that if the UK and other variants are here and spread like they did in other countries the case rate reductions may slow down or possibly reverse. There are two big unknowns:
1. Will the US have the same experience as the UK and other countries with the new variant. The experience they had was rapid increases in new cases and the new variant becoming the dominant strain.
2. If the new variants “take over” what will federal, state and local governments do about it and when will they do it.
I think even if the new strains rapidly progress it will take till mid March for them to be dominant. In the meantime, if the pace of vaccinations coil up due to two new vaccines coming to market and increase production, then this should help. Also, no one knows for sure how rapidly the UK variance is spreading in the US because we don’t sequence very many of the samples we get when someone tests positive.
A grim take on what things might look like can be found in Denmark where they are sequencing every sample. Right now case rates are dropping there too but what they are finding is that cases of the new variant are rapidly increasing, but since they currently represent a small fraction of all cases, the overall effect swamped by the reducing number of cases of “old school Corona” (Corona classic?). But the UK variant is growing so rapidly that they predict this whole situation will reverse by mid February.
Meanwhile in the US the CDC forecasts the UK variant will take till March to become dominant but their models are necessarily going to have bigger variance simply because they have less hard data to go one. And our vaccination is going to slowly now though we can hope that things may speed up it would be wise to take a “believe it when we see it” stance.