- New COVID-19 cases as well as deaths and hospitalizations continue to decline in the United States.
- Experts say this trend could stifle a resurgence of COVID-19 cases this summer.
- They say the U.S. vaccination rate and the number of cases here under Omicron have built up a healthy level of immunity.
- However, they warn that a new variant, such as BA.2, could boost yet another increase.
The United States may be heading for its most “normal” summer for years as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to decline nationally.
Daily new cases of COVID-19 infections has steadily declined and dropped to a seven-day average of less than 27,000 during the first week of April compared to a peak of more than 800,000 in mid-January at the height of Omicron. the increase.
There are now fewer than 13,000 people Hospitalized nationwide with COVID-19, compared to nearly 140,000 in mid-January.
That daily death rate from COVID-19 has dropped to below 500 compared to more than 3,000 in early February.
“We have come a long way in terms of cases and deaths,” he said Dr. David Dowdy, an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Maryland. “The number of people in the hospital is at its lowest point since the beginning of the first wave of COVID-19 in March 2020. Deaths are almost at their lowest point and are still falling, with the number halved approximately every two weeks.”
“I’m not saying we’re done with COVID, but we’m definitely continuing to move the numbers in the right direction,” Dowdy told Healthline. “If I were to place a bet, I expect to see the trend line continue. In the US, I think this summer will be much better than the last two.”
This prediction is supported by the fact that the United States currently enjoys a particularly high level of immunity to COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 82 percent of Americans over the age of 5 have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with nearly 70 percent being considered fully vaccinated. Of the latter, about half have also received at least one vaccine booster shot.
In addition, with the widespread infections with the highly contagious Omicron variant, Dowdy estimates that up to 95 percent of the U.S. population has some degree of natural immunity to COVID-19.
“Most unvaccinated people have already been infected,” he noted.
Dr. Tammy Lundstrøman infectious disease specialist and chief physician at Trinity Health, agrees.
“Omicron ran out of fuel [of] non-immune people to infect, ”she told Healthline.
Despite the encouraging figures, experts stress that there is no guarantee that another COVID-19 increase will not occur.
The BA.2 subvariant of Omicron, for example, has recently become the predominant disease strain in the United States and has been associated with a slight increase in cases in the Northeast.
“We are currently seeing increases in the proportion of cases attributed to the BA.2 variant of Omicron,” Daniel Parker, Ph.D., an assistant professor of population health and disease prevention at the University of California Irvine’s Program in Public Health, told Healthline. “Whether that means we will soon have another wave of cases or not is difficult to predict. This variant is very transferable, but it is also closely related to the other Omicron variants that drove our recent rise.”
Dr. Thomas KenyonChief Health Officer at Project Hope and former head of the CDC’s Center for Global Health, noted that COVID-19 still kills nearly 500 Americans daily.
“While we may be on a break in the pandemic at the moment, we need to continue to be vigilant after learning the hard way that the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic can change rapidly,” Kenyon told Healthline .
As COVID-19 is slowly moving from a global pandemic to an endemic disease like the flu, new variants are likely to emerge on a regular basis, resulting in the need for renewed public health campaigns, experts said.
This could include steps such as the reinstatement of mask mandates and physical distance requirements, which are now being relaxed across the country.
“As we now see in the UK and parts of Asia, the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron poses a risk of further increases in transmission in the US,” Dr. David Margolis, the Vice President and Head of Infectious Diseases at Brii Biosciences told Healthline. “We are likely to continue to see a low but stable baseline transmission rate marked by variable increases for many months, if not years to come.”