Well, so much for that “return to normalcy” that President Joe Biden promised the country as he took over the White House.
According to The Washington Post, health experts are predicting that August could be a brutal month for COVID-19, thanks mostly to the highly transmissible delta variant, with those same experts saying that case counts could peak at “140,000 to 300,000 cases a day” this month.
As the Post’s rolling seven-day average currently reads, there are some 70,000 new cases being reported daily, which is about a 60,000 per day increase in a matter of only six weeks. Experts also say that Americans getting back outside and socializing, coupled with the delta variant, has fueled the surge in cases.
Other brow-raising statistics include a 60% rise in cases over the past seven days alone, a 40% increase in hospitalizations, and a 30% spike in COVID-19-related deaths.
Back to normal, too fast?
University of North Carolina epidemiology professor Justin Lessler is concerned that America made the return to “normalcy” much too quickly, bringing together a perfect storm for a summer spike, and a questionable future.
“It worries me that we may have been too optimistic,” Lessler said, adding that he’s “quite concerned” about the next few months and what it could mean for heading into the fall season when viruses typically spike as people head indoors.
David W. Dowdy, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said that he doesn’t expect the death toll to be what it was last fall and winter, as the delta variant seems to be spreading among younger, healthier people, who tend to experience less dramatic reactions to the virus.
But Dowdy warned: “It is getting worse, and at least as of right now, it is not really slowing down in the U.S.”
Columbia University epidemiologist Jeffrey Shaman believes that relaxing restrictions nationwide have led to the spike, and added that he believes that, more than likely, there is a much higher number of “breakthrough” infections among the vaccinated than what has been reported.
Shaman made the claim as he believes vaccinated individuals tend to experience milder symptoms if infected with the virus and are must less likely to get tested or seek medical help for what they might believe is a mild cold or allergies.
University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation scientists believe that through mid-August, America will once again experience a surge in cases, until the case count levels off at roughly 300,000 daily cases.
Only time will tell how bad this next wave of COVID-19 hits us, but don’t be surprised if we find ourselves, once again, locked down and restricted as local, state, and federal health officials scramble to mitigate the case counts.