Medical Technology

A Fifth COVID Surge is Upon Us to’Fuel an Already Inspiring Flame’

The number of cases of COVID-19 is rising in 40 states and territories ahead of busy travel days. This sets the United States up for a difficult fifth surge. We are heading for a fifth and possibly deadly pandemic.

Stephen Kissler, PhD, an assistant professor at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Kissler said he’d prefer increases in daily cases coming 2 weeks after busy travel periods as it means they’ll be able to return to normal when people return to their routines.

Seeing big increases in cases ahead of the holiday season, he said, “is sort of like adding fuel to an already extinct fire.”

In the winter of last year, vaccines weren’t being rolled out as the nation prepared for Thanksgiving. COVID-19 was being used during gatherings with family.

However, now that two-thirds Americans over age 5 are fully vaccinated and booster doses are available for all adults, could a rise in cases translate, once again into strain on our thinly stretched health care system?

Experts believe that the vaccines help keep patients out of hospitals, which will help. New antiviral medications are being created that, at the very least according to early research, could be able to reduce the severity of a COVID-19 infection. A US Food and Drug Administration panel meets next week to discuss the first application, for a pill by Merck.

But experts caution that the coming surge in vaccinations is likely to burden hospitals once more, particularly in areas with lower rates of vaccination.

And even states where blood tests show significant amounts of people have antibodies following a COVID-19 virus aren’t entirely safe, in part, because we don’t know how long the immunity generated by infection could last.

“Erosion Of Immunity”

Jeffrey Shaman, PhD, professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and who has been modeling the course of the pandemic, said “It’s difficult to determine how much risk there is out there.”

“We’re estimating, unfortunately, and we have for many weeks now the impression that there’s an erosion in immunity,” Shaman said. “I believe it could turn bad.”” How bad? I’m not certain.

Ali Mokdad PhD, a professor of health analytics sciences at the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation is in agreement.

Mokdad and his colleagues believe that natural infection can cause a waning of immunity. This is despite the fact that there are not many studies to support this.

Their model is predicting that the number of cases per day will reach 100,000 with another 100,000 remaining undetected and will remain at the same level until the end of January, when some states recover from their surges and others pick up steam.

Mokdad stated that although daily deaths won’t reach the same level as they did during the summer flood Their model predicts that the number of deaths per day will increase to around 1200 per day.

He added, “We are almost there right at the moment and it will remain with us for a long time.” “We predict that we will see 881,000 deaths before March 1.

The US currently has 773,000 COVID-19-related deaths. Mokdad predicts about 120,000 additional deaths between now and when the deadline is.

Hesaid his model shows that more than half of those deaths could be prevented if 95 percent of Americans were wearing masks in close proximity to strangers.

According to surveys that only 36% of Americans wear masks regularly at the moment. While people are moving more, mobility remains at pre-pandemic levels in some states.

“The increase that you are seeing currently is high mobility and low mask wearing in the United States,” Mokdad said.

The solution, he said is for all adults to get another dose of vaccine. He does not like the term booster.

“Because they’ve been vaccinated, and they have taken two doses, they’ve got an illusion of security that they’re secure. Mokdad declared that we had to take action immediately to inform you that you needed a third dose. We were too late to do this.”


Stephen Kissler, PhD, is a postdoctoral researcher and data modeler Harvard’s T.H. Boston, MA, Chan School of Public Health

Jeffrey Shaman, PhD, professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY.

Ali Mokdad, PhD, professor of health metrics sciences The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle

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