As CDC warns of summer COVID surge, doctors reveal worries, recommendations

As Cdc Warns Of Summer Covid Surge, Doctors Reveal Worries, Recommendations

As CDC warns of COVID surge, doctors reveal worries, recommendations

Doctors express concerns and recommendations as CDC alerts to potential COVID surge

By on 2024-06-30 19:13:36

As Cdc Warns Of Summer Covid Surge, Doctors Reveal Worries, Recommendations

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A summer COVID surge is underway in the U.S., warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — so should you be concerned?

As of June 25, 2024, the CDC estimated that COVID-19 infections are “growing or likely growing” in 44 states and territories, according to a news alert on its website.

Despite the rise in cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain low, the data shows.

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Given that the pandemic was declared officially over as of May 5, 2023, public health officials don't collect the same amount of COVID data as they once did.

“But the data that we do have from the CDC, including from monitoring wastewater, indicates that COVID-19 infections are rising in many places in the U.S.,” Dr. Jay Varma, chief medical officer at SIGA Technologies, a pharmaceutical company in New York City, told Fox News .

Summer Covid Bloggizmo.com

A summer COVID surge is underway right now in the U.S., warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (iStock)

Dr. Marc Siegel, physician, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, acknowledged that there's been an uptick in cases recently. 

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“There has been an upsurge in certain areas, including California — fueled by the so-called FLiRT variants, KP.3, KP.2 and KP.1,” he told Fox News .

“It could spread to more states.”

Woman Coughing Bloggizmo.com

COVID-19 infections are “growing or likely growing” in 44 states and territories, according to a CDC news alert. (iStock)

CDC data shows that the KP.3 and KP.2 strains — both of which are subvariants of the highly contagious JN.1 variant — currently account for over half of all new cases.

Does COVID spread more in summer?

Since COVID-19 emerged in 2020, scientists have learned that the virus has seasonal patterns, Varma said, with predictable peaks in spring/early summer and winter. 

“Winter peaks are easy to explain — more people spend time indoors, and there are changes in the climate, including relative humidity, that make it easier for infections to spread through the air,” Varma, who served as the New York City mayor's senior adviser for public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, told Fox News .

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It's not quite as easy, however, to explain the peak during warmer weather

“It may be because the virus evolves at a frequency that aligns with the spring/summer — or there could be other environmental factors that we do not understand well,” Varma said.

Kp.2 Test Bloggizmo.com

CDC data shows that the KP.3 and KP.2 strains — both of which are subvariants of the highly contagious JN.1 variant — account for more than half of all new cases this summer so far. (iStock)

Siegel, however, does not believe that COVID is seasonal.

“It is a respiratory virus, and it spreads when people huddle close together,” he told Fox News Digital.

“And like all respiratory viruses, it spreads further in low humidity.” 

COVID VACCINE COMPANIES TOLD TO FOCUS ON KP.2 VARIANT FOR FALL SHOTS, PER FDA ANNOUNCEMENT

“Having said that, it has not shown itself to be seasonal, meaning that it can spread in warm weather easily as well.”

COVID's subvariants (FLiRT) are “immunoevasive,” according to Siegel, which means people can get them even if they had prior immunity.

Ways to curb the spread

To reduce the chances of catching COVID this summer, Siegel said the same advice applies year-round.

Kid Mask Istock Bloggizmo.com

“If you are sharing indoor air, such as on an airplane or in a crowded space, wearing a high-quality mask can reduce your risk of getting infected,” one doctor advised. (iStock)

“If you are sharing indoor air, such as on an airplane or in a crowded space, wearing a high-quality mask can reduce your risk of getting infected,” he advised. 

“If you have any cough or cold symptoms, including what you think are allergies, it's a good idea to take a rapid test for COVID-19.”

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A rapid test is an effective way to determine whether you're likely to be infectious to other people, Siegel added.

Despite the rise in cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain low, data shows.

Varma agreed, noting that “being aware and using rapid testing when exposed or sick helps.”

For high-risk people who become infected, Varma also recommends the use of Paxlovid, an antiviral medication that can help prevent severe illness.

Should you get a fall vaccine?

As of June 27, the CDC recommends that all people 6 months of age and older get updated 2024-2025 COVID vaccines when they become available in fall 2024.

“I think this is the right advice,” Siegel said. 

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“While we know that the flu and COVID vaccines only provide partial protection, we know these vaccines are extremely safe and that they may lead to fewer days of work or school lost, fewer days of misery, a lower risk of long COVID, and a lower risk of spreading infection to other people who may have risk of hospitalization or death,” he said.

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As of June 27, the CDC recommends that all people 6 months of age and older get updated 2024-2025 COVID vaccines when they become available in fall 2024. (Julian Stratenschulte/dpa (Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images))

Varma agreed, noting that the updated vaccine will target the new, prevalent subvariants. 

“It will be effective and should be taken or highly considered — especially for high-risk groups and those most at risk, including the elderly,” he told Fox News Digital. 

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“If COVID continues to spread, I would recommend the vaccine as one of our effective tools for adults to decrease severity and long COVID symptoms.”

He added, “For younger people, it is a matter of choice, but I continue to like the vaccine's effectiveness at decreasing long COVID risk.”

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