COVID Is Not Over: Pandemic Set to Surge Again in The US
While the U.S. was on a path of fewer cases and a ‘new-normal,’ skyrocketing BA.2 cases in the U.S. may eventually lead to another surge. And if the U.S. is to follow in the footsteps of the U.K, Europe, and Asia – which are seeing numbers climb – the country may see heightened COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths.
The New York Times reports, “Britain has emerged as a more startling example of the potential for a surge in BA.2 cases to begin filling up hospital beds. Health officials said that people 70 and older in England have been infected at record levels, with estimates that roughly one in every 30 people in that age group had COVID in the week before March 12.”
Increased Transmission Capability and Waning Immunity
With the highly contagious BA.2 known to be about 50% to 60% more transmissible than the original Omicron strain, it’s no wonder this variant is accounting for 25% or 30 of new cases in the U.S, with health experts now on high alert.
While heading into summer and warmer weather, some health authorities believe low levels of infection will be seen; however, this variant could still become the country’s most dominant variant. It could become the dominant variant with immunity from COVID infections warning for U.S. citizens.
The US is Still in a Precious Position Even in Warmer Weather
All three of those factors – high transmissibility, waning immunities, and relaxed restrictions – could see either a plateauing of cases or even [the curve] rebounding and slightly going up. Adding to these factors and putting the U.S. in a precarious position while adding to the alarm, wastewater testing sites have shown drastic increases in viral levels on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) map. At the same time, relaxed COVID rules and restrictions could fuel transmission.
News sources report, “Wastewater surveillance also points to an uptick in viral activity at sites around the country. Experts caution that this data is new and untested, but consider it another potential sign that the U.S. could see new case growth.” Now, viral increases are visible in some communities in the U.S.
CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance System detects virus fragments from feces flushed into sewage systems at select wastewater treatment facilities. Currently, an increase is seen in about 35% of sites that monitor waste concentrations, which is an early warning sign of a possible upcoming surge.
News sources continue to report, “What looked like noise at the beginning of the week is starting to look like a true signal here at the end of the week. The agency has seen consistent increases in Florida, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.”
The New York Times said, “In the United States, too, scientists are concerned that so many people have gone more than six months since their last dose of vaccine, reducing immunity levels. Pfizer and BioNTech have asked American regulators to authorize fourth doses in older people, and Moderna is seeking clearance for the additional shots for all adults.”
Only 44% of the Population is Actually Boosted
While 76.8% of the population is vaccinated; as per stats on the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, only 44% of the population is boosted. As The Guardian points out, “That makes vaccination and booster campaigns all the more important in preparation for coming surges.”
As stated in Bloomberg, “While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has argued that the U.S. needs to be prepared to resume measures such as requiring masks in indoor public spaces.”
Further adding to the public warnings, The Guardian revealed, “That makes vaccination and booster campaigns all the more important in preparation for coming surges.” Currently, only one-third of the U.S. population has received the booster shot, and now, vaccination rates have fallen again to a low.