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Summer Bummer: COVID Cases Are Six Times Higher Than This Time Last Year

Summer Bummer: COVID Cases Are Six Times Higher Than This Time Last Year

The Memorial Day holiday weekend has always been America’s unofficial start to summer, regardless of what the calendar actually says. But COVID-19 cases have been steadily climbing back up, and now the country’s numbers have risen six times higher than they were last year at this time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that about 54 percent of the U.S. population is experiencing low COVID-19 community levels, though some areas are seeing medium and high levels. Health experts have continued to warn Americans to exercise caution ahead of a possible surge.

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center showed a seven-day average of 119,725 cases as of Saturday. That figure held at 17,887 cases on May 28th of last year. COVID-related deaths were down from last year despite the rising infection rate, a sign of increased immunity through vaccines and prior infections, along with wider availability of treatments.

 (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Thankfully, the current COVID-19 case numbers are still well below the peaks from this past winter, when the highly transmissible omicron variant contributed to a widespread uptick in inflections. But health experts still caution the public to maintain vigilance.  “I know we all want to be done with COVID, but I don’t think it’s done with us,” said Dr. Jessica Justman, associate professor of medicine in epidemiology and senior technical director of ICAP at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

The worst-case scenario would be the emergence of a potent variant that isn’t dulled by vaccines and previous infections, causing a large wave of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. The best-case scenario is a sustained level of low transmission and no new variants. Barring a devastating variant, most health experts agree the country may finally be out of the acute pandemic phase.

 

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